On April 30, 1905, Emperor Nicholas II issued a decree on “Tolerance Development.” It would be the first in a series meant to reform relations between Russia’s church and state.

This Edict of Toleration — a declaration made by a ruler or government that protects practitioners of a religion from persecution — gave the religions of Russians who were not Orthodox Christians legal status at a time when more than 70 percent of the population belonged to the Russian Orthodox Church.<

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In this decree, the rights that were once exclusively reserved for Orthodox citizens were now extended to other religions. The decree included a number of new laws; Orthodox Christians were allowed to adopt children from other religions, and mixed marriages between different religions were permitted.

While this might seem like a small step in much of today’s world, given the state religion and dominance of the Orthodox church this was seen and accepted as a step in the right direction.