Orthodox Christians in Moscow prepare for Easter celebrations

Russian Orthodox believers came to Vysokopetrovsky Monastery in Moscow on Saturday on the eve of Easter to prepare for the holiest day in the Orthodox church calendar.

On Saturday night, Orthodox churches and cathedrals around the world will usher in Easter with a solemn ceremony, but before that, Orthodox Christians have their Easter sweet bread, called "kulichi", and decorated eggs, blessed by a priest.

With the arrival of Easter, Lent - a strict fasting period for Orthodox Christians - comes to an end, and believers treat themselves to Easter cakes and eggs that have been forbidden for months.

In Russia, on Holy Saturday - the day marking the eve of Christ's resurrection - Orthodox Christians bring kulichi that they bake themselves or purchase to their parish churches, where they are then blessed and sprinkled with holy water.

On Saturday night, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will lead a service in Moscow's biggest cathedral, Christ the Saviour which is traditionally attended by President Vladimir Putin.