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MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. April 11 is Great Saturday for Orthodox Christians - it is believed that it was on this day that Christ performed in spirit the Harrowing of Hades and raised up to Paradise those who had been held captive there. On Easter night from April 11 to 12, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will head a solemn service in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
"During the Easter Vigil, Patriarch Kirill will lead a sacred procession, hold Easter Matins and Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour," the Patriarch’s press service said on Saturday.
The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is one of the largest churches in Russia that can accommodate about 10 thousand people. According to tradition, started by the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called in 2003, the Holy Fire will be delivered from Jerusalem for the divine service.
Feast of the Resurrection of Christ is preceded by the divine services of Great Saturday, which are associated with the burial of the Saviour. Throughout the day, Christ’s burial Shroud is in the centre of churches. But during the morning service the priests change their black robes into light clothing and begin preparations for the great feast of Easter, consecrating cakes, eggs and other dishes.
The Patriarch’s press service said that after the Saturday morning liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Patriarch Kirill will tour Moscow churches. "Patriarch will sanctify cakes of the church people, wish them Happy Easter, meet with clergy, see how the youth, missionary and social work in the parishes is organised. The list of the churches to visit is kept secret," Patriarch’s spokesman Deacon Alexander Volkov said. In previous years, the Patriarch visited about 7 churches in different parts of the Russian capital, consecrating eggs and giving gifts.
In all Moscow churches, volunteers will distribute among the people who come to consecrate their Easter cakes, a special charity edition of the Gospel with comments in plain language explaining the meaning of the events described. Part of the edition will be donated to military units, hospitals and prisons.