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MOSCOW, November 4 (Itar-Tass) —— Celebrations marking National Unity Day have begun at Moscow's Red Square with a liturgy led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in honour of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God in the Kazan Cathedral.
Holidays devoted to the Mother of God are always particularly honoured by people, and this Friday many Christians have gathered in the church since early Morning. The church is crowded, and many stand outside at Nikolskaya Street.
The Kazan Icon of the Mother of God was the main sacred object of the people's militia that liberated Moscow from foreign invaders in 1612. So, National Unity Day is marked on the same day with Kazan Icon Holiday connected with the Moscow liberation.
The Kazan Cathedral on Red Square was built in honour of the victory of 1612. It was destroyed in the Soviet time, in 1936, and reconstructed in the early 1990s according to drawings and photos of the church.
After the liturgy, Kirill will open an exhibition "Orthodox Rus" in the Manezh centre. With multimedia technologies, the exhibition will tell visitors about present Christian life.
Then, the Russian Orthodox Church head will leave for Nizhny Novgorod, where the militia was formed in 1612. The country's leaders will also visit Nizhny Novgorod on the holiday. The patriarch will lead a religious service in the cathedral of Alexander Nevsky, near the ark with the belt of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Then, the patriarch will visit the Nizhny Novgorod fair.