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Orthodox believers in Russia and other countries celebrate Christmas

January 07, 5:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Orthodox Christians throughout the world celebrate Christmas on January 7
1 pages in this article
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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and and Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and and Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and and Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
© Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin at midnight Orthodox Christams Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin at midnight Orthodox Christams Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin at midnight Orthodox Christams Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, Russia
© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian presidential press service/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, where the parents of Russian President Vladimir Putin were  baptized
Orthodox Christmas Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, where the parents of Russian President Vladimir Putin were  baptized
Orthodox Christmas Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, where the parents of Russian President Vladimir Putin were baptized
© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian presidential press service/TASS
Orthodox believers at Christmas service in the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Orthodox believers at Christmas service in the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia
Orthodox believers at Christmas service in the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia
© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS
Christmas Eve Mass in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine
Christmas Eve Mass in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine
Christmas Eve Mass in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine
© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III at the Church of the Nativity in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III at the Church of the Nativity in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III at the Church of the Nativity in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem
© EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN
A candlelight procession of prayer, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
A candlelight procession of prayer, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
A candlelight procession of prayer, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
© EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN
Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seen during Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seen during Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seen during Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
© AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
A boy with a flower at Christmas Eve Mass, St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
A boy with a flower at Christmas Eve Mass, St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
A boy with a flower at Christmas Eve Mass, St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
© AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
Orthodox priests leading an Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Orthodox priests leading an Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Orthodox priests leading an Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
© AP Photo/Amel Emric
Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
© AP Photo/Amel Emric
Lithuanian Orthodox believers lighting candles during the liturgy on Orthodox Christmas Eve in the Prechistensky, the Cathedral Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuanian Orthodox believers lighting candles during the liturgy on Orthodox Christmas Eve in the Prechistensky, the Cathedral Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania
Lithuanian Orthodox believers lighting candles during the liturgy on Orthodox Christmas Eve in the Prechistensky, the Cathedral Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania
© AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis
Christmas service in St Elisabeth Convent, Belarus
Christmas service in St Elisabeth Convent, Belarus
Christmas service in St Elisabeth Convent, Belarus
© Viktor Drachev/TASS
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Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and and Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
© Alexander Astafyev/Russian Government Press Office/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Sergei Bobylev/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS
Russian President Vladimir Putin at midnight Orthodox Christams Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, Russia
© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian presidential press service/TASS
Orthodox Christmas Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo, where the parents of Russian President Vladimir Putin were baptized
© Alexei Druzhinin/Russian presidential press service/TASS
Orthodox believers at Christmas service in the Kazan Cathedral in Saint Petersburg, Russia
© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS
Christmas Eve Mass in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine
© AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III at the Church of the Nativity in the biblical West Bank town of Bethlehem
© EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN
A candlelight procession of prayer, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem
© EPA/ABED AL HASHLAMOUN
Coptic Pope Tawadros II and Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi seen during Christmas Eve Mass at St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
© AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
A boy with a flower at Christmas Eve Mass, St. Mark's Cathedral, in Cairo, Egypt
© AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty
Orthodox priests leading an Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
© AP Photo/Amel Emric
Orthodox Christmas service at the Bosnian Orthodox church in Sarajevo, Bosnia
© AP Photo/Amel Emric
Lithuanian Orthodox believers lighting candles during the liturgy on Orthodox Christmas Eve in the Prechistensky, the Cathedral Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania
© AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis
Christmas service in St Elisabeth Convent, Belarus
© Viktor Drachev/TASS

MOSCOW, January 7. /TASS/. Orthodox Christians in Russia and other countries around the world are celebrating Christmas on January 7, an event which 2016 years ago marked the beginning of the new history of mankind.

Christians conclude a four-week fast during which they confess their sins and receive communion. And on Christmas Eve they have special fasting, "until the first star," in memory of how the Magi came first to the birthplace of Christ following the movement of the star in the sky. At present, a candle in front of the altar, which is lit at the end of the Christmas Eve service at about noon, symbolizes the star.

Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia recited Christmas Eve liturgy at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow.

The festive Christmas service recalls the great event that marked the beginning of a new era for mankind. At the moment of birth of Godman God's grace touched every person, every family line, and from that time the person has the opportunity to accept the gift.

Russia’s main Orthodox cathedral, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, built to commemorate the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812, is dedicated to the biblical birth of Jesus, since on this very day, December 25 of the older Julian calendar, the last soldier of the Napoleon army left Russia. For the first time ever, the Christmas Eve service was held with open Holy Doors to symbolize the openness of God’s word for all.

The Russian Orthodox Church today has more than 30,000 churches and 800 monasteries in almost 70 countries. Religious services are conducted during the night and in the morning in all Orthodox churches on all continents.

January 7 is also Christmas day for Orthodox Christians in Serbia, Jerusalem, Georgia, and the monastic community of Mount Athos in Greece, one of Orthodox Christianity's holiest sites. A midnight mass also took place in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem which marks the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born in the West Bank town.

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