By Madhur Tankha
Like India, Russia also has people practising different faiths. A weeklong photo exhibition titled "Religious Life and Traditions in Russia" opened at India International Centre Annexe in the Capital on Tuesday.
Organised jointly by India International Centre, Russian news agency RIA Novosti and the Russian Centre of Science and Culture, the exhibition has on display pictures of religious architecture and people of different faiths.
There are pictures of Karma Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, the main form of Buddhism practised in the Russian Federation. Historically, Buddhism was incorporated in Russian lands as early as the late 15th Century.
The exhibition also features pictures of followers of Judaism as many Jews from Greece, Babylonia and Persia immigrated to the Caucasus in the 7th Century. There are also pictures of Russian Muslims who adhere to the Sunni branch of Islam. The first Muslims to arrive there were the Daghestani people after the Arab conquests.
Russian Orthodox Church, which traces its roots to the baptism of Kiev in 998, is also well represented at the exhibition. Prince Vladimir-I officially adopted the religion of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire as the religion of the Russian State. During the late 17th and early 18th Centuries, the Russian Orthodox Church experienced phenomenal geographic expansion.
There are also pictures of Russian church architecture. In fact, the physical splendour of Byzantine church was a cardinal factor in determining the characteristics of Russian ecclesiastical architecture. The design and support of the central dome together with the number and disposition of the subsidiary cupolas remained for a long time the principal theme of Russian architecture.
Then there are pictures of Russian icons, usually painted on wooden bases.