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From Jerusalem to Damascus to Moscow, Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter

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From Jerusalem to Damascus to Moscow, Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter

Millions of Orthodox Christians across Eastern Europe, the Middle East and beyond have been celebrating Easter this weekend, the most important date in their religious calendar.

In Jerusalem mass was held inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

Followers took part in the reception of the Holy Fire, represented by lighting each others candles before parading around the inner temple and chanting.

In the Syrian capital Damascus, hundreds of worshippers attended mass at the Holy Cross Church.

In a minority across the Middle East, Christians have been increasingly persecuted. In Syria the war is affecting everyone regardless of religion.

“Today is the resurrection of Christ, we hope it will be the resurrection of Syria. Syria is still going through injury and pain, Good Friday passed and still we are waiting for Syria to rise,” said one young woman outside the church.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attended the service at Moscow’s Christ the Saviour Cathedral that started late on Saturday and ran into Sunday morning.

The “Holy Fire” from Jerusalem was delivered to Moscow late on Saturday and was carried by priests around the cathedral after which Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill announced the resurrection of Christ with the greeting: “Christ has risen!”

For Roman Catholics and Protestants the event took place in March this year, in line with the Gregorian calendar – but Eastern Orthodox churches use the older Julian calendar.


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