Since AD 988, when Russia proclaimed Christianity as a state religion, Russian Orthodox has remained as the most significant religion in Russia. Russian Orthodox has been deeply imbedded in the mind and culture of Russia that it even survived lengthy religious persecution during the Soviet era, which was from 1917 to 1991. Now, most Russians are inactive with religion. Yet, many of them would still celebrate religious holidays such as Easter and Christmas, and decorate their houses with candles and the sign of the cross. It is said, "No single element has done more to shape the national character of Russians, whether at home or abroad, than the Russian Orthodox Church" (Multiculturalcanada.ca).
Population: 142.3 million
Ethnic Groups: Russian (77.7%), Tatar (3.7%), Ukrainian (1.4%), Bashkir (1.1%), Chuvash (1%), Other (10.2%), Unspecified (3.9%)
Languages: Russian (Official) (85.7%), Tatar (3.2%), Chechen (1%), Other (10.1%)
Religions: Russian Orthodox (15% - 20%), Muslim (10% - 15%), other Christian (2%)
CIA: The World Factbook - Last Updated July 12, 2017
In Canada: 622,450
In the GTA: 139,910
In Toronto: 74,470
Primary Areas of Settlement in the GTA (Social Atlas):
Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Aurora, King City, Whitchurch-Stouffville, and the City of Toronto (North York).
The Russian presence in the GTA is alive and diverse. For example, there are Russian Jews in the GTA who actively follow religious lifestyle of Jews. In local supermarkets of some areas, Russian Muslim females, who are doing grocery shopping with the hijab on their head, can be found. There are also Russian speaking Koreans who go to evangelical churches on Sunday. Though many Russians would identify themselves as Christians, church attendance among Russian people in the GTA is low. For Russians, religious identity and national identity are, in many parts, intertwined. One pastor ministering to Russians in Toronto says, "You need to ask questions and know the person a bit if you really want to see the religious life of your Russian friend.