MOSCOW, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of Russian Orthodox churches have been rebuilt since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago, a Russian religious leader says.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said 23,000 Russian Orthodox churches have been rebuilt in the post-Soviet era, RIA Novosti reported Friday.
"This has been happening against the backdrop of all social, political and economic confrontations, the religious leader said. "The world should see the Orthodox Russia's great feat of rebuilding all that was destroyed."
During the Soviet era, thousands of churches were either destroyed or turned into warehouses. By 1991 Russia had 7,000 operating churches and 22 monasteries.
The country now has over 30,000 churches and about 1,000 monasteries, RIA Novosti reported.
"Nothing of the kind has happened in any country at any time in history," Kirill said.