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  Orthodox Church in Tatarstan

  
  In 1555 under the decree of king Ivan the Terrible at Moscow metropolitan Makariy was founded the Kazan diocese to which in the dignity of archbishop of Kazan and Sviyazhsk the hegumen of Tver monastery Gury was appointed. He went to Kazan with archimandrites Varsonofy and German having got Makariy's order to christen only those people who were willing to be baptized, to be kind to them and protect them. In the hierarchical line the Kazan diocese took the third place after Moscow diocese and Novgorod diocese. However imperial administrative practice had an effect, and the method of violence in relation to infidels was applied rather widely.
  Kazan icon of God's Mother was found on July 8, 1579 (at archbishop Ieremia) by ten year-old girl Matrena. Soon this image showed numerous miracles. The original of the icon was in Kazan monastery till June, 1904, whence was stolen. But hitherto the destiny of the wonder-working icon is unknown. Investigation did not manage to prove the fact of destruction of the icon besides some historians assume that the copy was stolen, and the original was sent to Moscow in 1612.
  In 1917 in the Kazan diocese there were: churches - 794, monasteries - 27, chapels - 419; white clergy (married) - 4554 persons, black (monastic): nuns - 202, monks - 1601. From May 1917 till 1918 the Kazan spiritual consistory was transformed to Eparchial council, and then - into eparchial department.
  After the edition of the decree of the Soviet authority about separation of Church from the state, the monasteries and church lands were transferred to government as well as the property of the church, churches were closed, reprisal of clergy began (in 1918 32 clerics were executed).
  The majority of monasteries of the diocese was liquidated in 1928, mass reprisals of clergy were in 1918, 1922, 1931-33, 1936-38.
  In Kazan only two temples functioned till 1989, now the process of gradual returning of temples is observed all over the republic.
  In September, 1997 the Kazan spiritual school was opened which is supposed to be soon transformed to theological seminary. At the existing sunday schools traditionally big attention is given to the education of children.
  Since 1993 in Naberezhnye Chelny the monthly eparchial newspaper "The Good Message", transformed in 1995 in "Kazan Eparchial Bulletin" is published.
  On January, 1, 1997 in Tatarstan 168 religious communities of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy have been registered. In the territory of the republic there are five rural deans (with the centres in Naberezhnye Chelny, Elabuga, Chistopol, Arsk, Pestretsy) and five monasteries: four man's - Raifa, John the Baptist (Kazan), St. Ascension Makariy (Sviyazhsk), Sviyazhsk Uspensky; one female - God's Mother in Elabuga.


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