Some 70 percent of the country's citizens describe themselves as Russian Orthodox
Christians, but far fewer regularly attend church though all major faiths have enjoyed revivals since the 1991 collapse of the communist Soviet Union.
Construction on the project started in September 2007 after His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, allotted the land to the Russian Orthodox
CUTLINE: One of the icons highlighting the Russian Orthodox
nativity on exhibit through Jan.
This book is somewhat different from a number of previous related works insofar as it does not focus on the political ambitions of the Russian Orthodox
At the same time, the Russian Orthodox
Church will be able to offer its course called "Fundamentals of Orthodox Culture.
Over 90 percent of the Orthodox believers are in communion with the Russian Orthodox
Church, which is the second largest Christian church in the world.
Icons from the Russian Orthodox
Cathedral have also been donated to them.
Sergei Mironov, the speaker of the upper house of parliament, said: "This is an irretrievable loss for all Russian Orthodox
people, wherever they live.
This is a monument to Russian-Cuban friendship and all the efforts that have preserved our relations including the most difficult moments of the Cold War," Metropolitan Kiril, a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox
Church and head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, said at the opening.
At St John's Church in Rastrick, the choir will sing both Russian Orthodox
sacred music and Russian folk songs.
The Russian Orthodox
Church was not a part of the agreement, as its representative left the October dialogue session over a dispute with another Orthodox church.
Putin, who visited on Tuesday the Baptism site, said the Russian government will fund the construction of a guest house on the designated land, which will be supervised by the Russian Orthodox