The Slavs are the largest ethnic group in Europe, united by a common culture, traditions and early history. At the same time, many peoples kindred to us adopted Christianity according to the Eastern model. And Russia for hundreds of years has tried to unite all the Slavs under itself and at the same time convert them to Orthodoxy.
Why did it happen that the eastern Slavs became Orthodox Christians, the western ones became Catholics, and some of the southern ones even converted to Islam?
Christianity began to penetrate into the Slavic lands at the beginning of the 9th century. The princes were baptized for purely political reasons: to conclude military alliances and trade agreements, to consolidate power in the principality, and also to recognize their state as a full-fledged European power.
The breakup of Christianity into the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches
To convert the country to their religion, the churches did their utmost diplomatic efforts, but geography played an important role. In particular, the Byzantine Empire was the closest neighbor of Ancient Russia. Therefore, there is nothing surprising in the fact that it was more profitable for Prince Vladimir to accept the Greek rite.
In turn, the Holy Roman Empire turned out to be the closest neighbor for the Czech Republic and Poland, and therefore the choice was made in favor of the Roman rite. The Greeks could not do anything: at this time they spent their efforts on the Eastern and Southern Slavs.
Initially, central Europe, home to Western Slavs, was baptized by both Orthodox and Catholic missionaries. In the middle of the 9th century, the Greeks completely ousted the Roman priests from the region.
At this time, the famous saints Cyril and Methodius preached in the region, who created the first Slavic alphabet and translated the Bible into the local language. Methodius became the first archbishop of Moravia, therefore, initially the Western Slavs followed the Orthodox path.
However, later central Europe was captured by Germany, giving the right to baptize the region to the Pope. In 966 under the influence of neighboring West Slavic peoples
The Bosniaks or Bosniaks are the only Slavic people who converted to Islam. Their story is pretty confusing. In general, the Bosnians, as a nation, were
Initially, the southern Slavs, experiencing the political and religious influence of Rome and Constantinople, were converted to Christianity. The western regions were baptized according to the Catholic rite, and the eastern regions were baptized according to the Orthodox.
However, in the 15th century, the Balkan peoples were conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The Turks did not forcibly Islamize the population, but they levied more taxes from Christians and did not allow them to hold high government posts.
In an effort to preserve power and property, the local rich and aristocrats began to switch to a new religion. It was this stratum of Slavs who converted to Islam that became the basis for the new nation. Although in fact these are the same Serbs and Croats.
Years later, the Russian Empire united under itself most of the Slavic peoples, but was unable to convert them to Orthodoxy and return them to a single religion. Therefore, the differences between the peoples persist to this day.