According to one authoritative estimate, there are up to 200,000 people in Russia who cannot hear and up to 13 million who are hard of hearing. The latter are either Russian speakers or bilingual (that is, they speak both Russian and RSL), but for the part of the population that is completely deaf from birth, the Russian language is not their mother tongue. In fact, Russian is a separate subject of study for them, similar to a foreign language. In their everyday life these people use RSL as their natural language. Reading the Bible in Russian causes significant difficulties for this group, and there is still no Orthodox Church translation of even a single book of the Bible into RSL. So it is no wonder that the majority of deaf people are far from the Russian Orthodox Church, or from any Christian confession, for that matter...

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