Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended an Easter midnight Mass in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the world's largest Orthodox Church, officiated at the service, attended by some 5,000. Христос Воскрес! Воистину Воскрес!
Опять настал великий светлый праздник!
И снова скажут все - «Христос воскрес!»
«Воистину воскрес!» - ответит каждый.
В день Пасхи Поздравления прими
И пусть тебя благословит Всевышний!
Поддержит, даст здоровья, озарит
И никогда пусть не обидит ближний.
Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as Patriarch Kirilll leads the Orthodox Easter holiday service in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral on May 1, 2016.
The magnificent service led by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, began on Easter’s eve on Saturday and lasted for around three hours. The solemn ceremony which began with a procession did not go without holy fire which arrived in Russia from Jerusalem earlier in the evening.
Orthodox Easter was celebrated across the world Sunday with a fire ceremony, roasted lamb, cakes and street processions through the streets of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem, at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre — built where Jesus was crucified and resurrected — priests entered a small chamber marking his tomb and emerged with “holy fire.” In a ceremony that dates back at least 1,200 years, they shared the flames with the faithful who used candles to pass it from person to person until the light filled the streets outside.
Worshipers, some carrying crosses, walked the 14 stations of the cross, along streets lined with hundreds of Israeli security forces deployed to regulate the flow of people.
Patriarch Theophilos of Jerusalem also handed the flame to delegations who took it to Orthodox churches around the world. A Greek delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Yiannis Amanatidis, took it to Athens Saturday, and from there to more than a dozen locations around the country, according to Greek news outlet Kathimerini.
Fireworks are an essential part of the festivities in Greece, despite official disapproval from the Greek Orthodox Church. On the eastern Greek Aegean island of Chios, two parishes in the village of Vrontados staged a spectacular mock war with a hail of fireworks, drawing visitors from across the country, according to the Associated Press.
Painted eggs, traditional cakes and a special kind of holiday spirit of course – are all part of the Easter celebrations. “It’s a family tradition. We painted eggs and cooked traditional meals. It’s the first time we are visiting Christ the Savior Cathedral for the Easter service. We’ve been dreaming a long time about it,” one Orthodox Christian mentioned.
Historian and publicist Sergey Brun said the event is the “most joyous” of celebrations.
“After the long period of fasting and after a very long and often very tiring services of the holy week we are seeing most joyous feast of the year because we have to remember even when we go into the nativity season or with Christmas celebrations it’s always slightly a sad feeling because …Christ comes into the world and he comes to die. And now we have the opposite – he dies but he comes back to life and he saves mankind," Brun told RT.
Easter celebrations did not “bypass” Russian soldiers in Syria. On Easter Eve a festive mass took place in one of the Syrian makeshift temples close to the Russian airbase. This is the first time that a Russian Orthodox Church bell chimed on Syrian soil to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. The Russian military is helping the Syrian government led by President Bashar Assad in that country's five-year civil war.
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