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    Over 20,000 churches rebuilt in Russia in 20 years - Patriarch Kirill

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    A total of 23,000 Orthodox churches have been rebuilt in Russia in the past 20 years, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said Friday.

    A total of 23,000 Orthodox churches have been rebuilt in Russia in the past 20 years, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said Friday.

    "Nothing of the kind has happened in any country at any time in history," the leader of Russia's Orthodox Christians said.

    Churches all across Russia were destroyed during the Soviet era, while many others were turned into museums of atheism or used as warehouses.

    "This has been happening against the backdrop of all social, political and economic confrontations... The world should see the Orthodox Russia's great feat of rebuilding all that was destroyed," he said.

    The patriarch recalled that by 1991 Russia had only 7,000 operating churches and 22 monasteries. Today the country has over 30,000 churches and some 1,000 monasteries.

    Kirill was elected Russia's church leader on February 1, 2009. He replaced Patriarch Alexy II, who died in December 2008 at the age of 79. Alexy led a revival of faith in Russia following the collapse of the Soviet system.

    MOSCOW, December 3 (RIA Novosti)

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