For centuries the terms evrei (Hebrew) and iudei (Jew) have been interchangeable, although in the specific stages of the development of Jewish consciousness, the ethnic and religious components of Judaism have acquired a separate significance: secularised Jews have broken away from the religious community but have not lost their cultural and ethnic identity.
Secularised Jews who no longer observe the faith nonetheless may recognise the tremendous human significance of traditional Jewish religious values (2).
The authorities blamed Jewish influences for heretical movements in the Catholic world, such as the Albigensian, and subjected Jews to the cruellest persecution.
Extensive academic studies have been made of the position of the Jewish community in Russia and our task here is not to analyse this in detail (5).
Nonetheless, we will attempt briefly to outline the main features of the relationship between Jews and Orthodox Christians in the thousand or more years of their coexistence.
In this sense the term iudei, conventionally applied in Russia to those who practise the Jewish faith, is too narrow a term to denote the wider concept of evreistvo ("Jewry"), as understood by today"s Orthodox Christian.
Moreover, the very meaning of the word iudei taken in its historical and religious context is complex and contradictory enough (3).
Jewish religious influence was also significant: it is no accident that in the famous History of the Baptism of Rus there is an account of how Prince Vladimir came to choose the future monotheistic state religion to replace old pagan beliefs, with one of the alternatives being Judaism.