Although in western Europe it is virtually taken for granted that a composer who is well-versed in all genres also writes church music, thereby enriching the Catholic or Protestant religions with this sacred music composed for all different ensembles, Russian composers did not discover sacred music until relatively recently. The main reason for this lay in the Russian-Orthodox liturgy, as this did not permit any kind of instruments to embellish the religion. Only singing characterized the development of the liturgical events - and that only when preaching the word of God. As an indispensable part of the orthodox religion, its main task consisted of increasing the vividness of church dogmas and imprinting them in the minds of the believers.
For a long time, the accompanying melodies were as sacrosanct as the words themselves. In the course of the Christianization process, the Russians, as of the year 988, took over both the liturgy - in the Church Slavonic translation - and its musical accompaniment together with the rules of the orthodox church. Not until Russia became more important on the whole, following the fall of Constantinople in 1453, was Russian church music able to develop independently. Diverse regional schools for singing were then established, characterized by the vocal virtuosity of outstanding vocalists.