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Gift ideas -- arts, literature, books for children; A look inside Russia's churches; The Orthodox Church in Russia, text by Archbishop Pitirim of Volokolamsk, Archimandrite Longin of Dusseldorf, Leonid Uspensky, Bishop Serafim of Zurich, V. Feodorov. Photographs by Fred Mayer. New York: The Vendome Press. 203 pp. $65 .

This large-scale book is about the unyielding devotions of clergy and believers whose church is marking its millenium and managing, with flexible but undeniable certainty, coexistence with the Soviet system.

There are five excellent essays on the history, piety, iconography, architecture, and contemporary life of the Russian Orthodox Church. But the movingly candid color photography (and outstanding reproduction by Swiss printers) dominates. Russian faces are seldom seen so unposed, at such close range, in such intimate worship settings.

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If this subject, with its veneration of somber ritual, saints, and shrines, is important to you, this is a necessary book.