Russian President Vladimir Putin took a bracing dip at his suburban estate Novo-Ogaryovo on January 19 for an Orthodox Christian..
Eastern Orthodox Church
Second-largest Christian church
The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in the territory of the former Soviet Union, most of those living in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the bishop of Rome, but the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.