Before the adoption of Christianity the beliefs of the ancient Slavs had a certain mystic flavour. Being the pagans, the ancient Slavs worshiped idols that personified the phenomena of nature and the cult of ancestors. Soothsayers and magicians were the first ministers of religion, the interpreters of gods, will at pagan sanctuaries or so-called pagan temples.
In the year of 983 Vladimir I made an attempt to regulate the pantheon of pagan gods, carrying out the first religious reform that failed. Some premises and reasons for the beginning of Christianization of Russia were formed in the second half of the 9th century. The Korsun incident happened to prince Vladimir gave cause for it. There are many legends of how and where the prince was christened. But in any case the Orthodox Church with its own hierarchy (Constantinople patriarch, metropolitan, archbishop, bishop, archimandrite, Father Superior, monk) appeared with the beginning if christening in Russia.
Christianization of Russia was forced. The resistance to Orthodoxy was expressed in risings - in Novgorod (990), in Suzdal (1024, 1071). The first heresy appeared at the same time.
The culture of the 9th-13th centuries had its own peculiarities and underwent several stages of development. First of all literature was developed. Then in the time of Vladimir Svyatoslavich the active building of stone and wood churches began. That was also the time for the development of painting (the fresco of the Spas-Nereditsa in Novgorod); icon painting (the first icons were brought into Russia from Byzantium: Vladimir Mother of God, Oranta Mother of God, Boris and Gleb. However, proper icons appeared in the 12th century - Yaroslav Oranta). The names of the Russian icon painters of the 11th century are also known: Olympy, Olesy, George, etc); mosaic was not widely spread.
By that time there were something about 100 kinds of handicraft industries. Jewelry handicrafts (filigree, blacking, enamel), lost in Mongolian period, were highly developed.