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Orthodox Christians prepare for Easter Sunday

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Orthodox Christians prepare for Easter Sunday
Copyright  Ivan Sekretarev/Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem gathered at the Holy Sepulchre Church on Saturday to mark the Holy Fire ceremony.

The event takes place on the day before Orthodox Easter Sunday and represents the "Holy Fire" which is believed to be a light miraculously emanating from - what is said to be - the Tomb of Christ.

It is one of the most sacred rituals of Eastern Orthodoxy.

Worshippers were able to gather in much greater numbers this year than they were last year due to coronavirus restrictions being eased.

Meanwhile, in the Russian capital, Moscow, people have been bringing baskets of cake, coloured eggs and other treats to be blessed after morning mass.

Saturday is a day of strict fasting ahead of the Easter meal.

The main Russian Orthodox Easter service in Moscow takes place around midnight and involves a huge procession around the church.

The Lenten fast is usually broken after the midnight service, often with Pashka bread cake, made from cream cheese, cottage cheese, soured cream, butter, sugar, almonds and currants.