Time for Christmas celebrations in Russia

In countries across the world and in Russia, Orthodox Christians are celebrating Christmas. It falls on January 7 according to the Julian calendar. This is the first Christmas since the re-unification of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad with the mother church in Russia after an 80-year split.

The main ceremony took place at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in central Moscow.

The cathedral is a replica of the original, which was destroyed by the Soviet government in the 1930s. It was completed in the year 2000.

The service is traditionally led by the Head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Aleksy II.

Aleksy II has offered his best wishes to Orthodox believers on the holy day.

"On the Feast of the Nativity of Christ and the oncoming New Year I congratulate all of you, my dear brothers and sisters. May the light of the Bethlehem Star always shine upon our souls, giving us the strength to follow the path of Christ Himself Who bestows on us the gift of health, peace and spiritual fortitude, and let it lead us by the difficult roads of life. May the coming Year of Divine Goodness be for the Holy Church and the people of our Land a peaceful, creative and successful one. I congratulate all of you on this feast," Aleksy II said.

Twenty-seven thousand Russian Orthodox parishes around the world are also celebrating.

When the first star appears in the night sky, observant Orthodox Christians can end their fast of 40 days and receive Communion.

With religious holidays banned after the 1917 revolution, for most Soviet people the New Year became winter's biggest celebration.

It wasn't until 75 years later that Christmas officially came back and is now enjoying something of a renaissance.

While Europe has already celebrated Christmas, the Russians are now getting involved in the festivities.

Soviet Russia took on the Gregorian calendar long used by most of the Western world.

However, the Russian Orthodox Church still uses the old Julian calendar that's now 13 days behind, so the Russian Christmas is celebrated on January 7.

President Vladimir Putin traditionally visits different places throughout Russia to celebrate Christmas.

Only once, during his first presidential term, has he attended Russia's main cathedral, Christ the Saviour, on Christmas Eve.

This year the President chose Russia's northern city of Veliky Ustyug, the place which is known as the home of Father Frost, the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus.

Despite freezing temperatures - it's around minus 30 degrees Celsius there - people flock to the popular destination.

In modern Russia Christmas is again marked in a grand fashion, with the faithful gathering for all-night Mass in churches across the country.

"Russian Christmas is about fir-trees, decorated cities, decorated churches and snow. But the most important ritual is the service, where worshippers have a unique chance to be close to God when he is born," says Father Igor Palkin.

The days following Christmas, known as 'Svyatki', are the time for carnivals, games and fortune-telling. Popular methods of doing the latter are burning paper or pouring molten wax into water are centuries-old rituals to find out what lies ahead.

After decades of imposed neglect, Christmas is back on the Russian calendar.

Whether it's a spiritual ceremony or a secular exchange of presents, for millions around the globe marking the birth of Jesus is first of all a happy occasion.

Now Russians are once again remembering how to celebrate it.

Russia isn't the only country celebrating Christmas at this time. Eastern Orthodox Churches all over the world have been marking the occasion in their own traditional ways. ( RT )

Coronavirus cases count exceeds 200 in Kazakhstan
Coronavirus cases count exceeds 200 in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
Loading Bars
Iran announces products exported via Astara customs checkpoint
Demand on Georgian canning factory products decreases
Chinese FM says China ready to help Azerbaijan fight coronavirus
Iran launches mass production of coronavirus diagnostic tests
Coronavirus cases increase in Georgia
Foreign direct investment in Georgia's mining sector increases
U.S. Department of State, USAID providing $1.7M in health assistance to help Azerbaijan
Value of exported products via Astara customs announced in Iran
Azerbaijan's Internal Ministry: Entry, exit from Sheki district restricted (PHOTO)
Coronavirus cases count exceeds 200 in Kazakhstan
Most popular transport for visiting Turkey revealed
Azerbaijan's Internal Ministry: Entry, exit from Gazakh district restricted (VIDEO)
China's success in curbing coronavirus spread affected oil market - Iran's official
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Moldova through its ports
Iran opens its first mobile coronavirus lab (PHOTO)
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus announced
BP: 3D seismic survey program on Block D230 completed successfully
Iran reveals funds allocated to battle coronavirus spread
Turkey names new minister of transport and infrastructure
Iran's export down since early March
Online supermarket created with help of Azerbaijani Agency for Development of SMEs
Iran talks investments made in Persian Gulf Mining and Metal Industries SEZ
Forecast growth in new solar, wind plants to be wiped out for 2020
Exports of products up in Iran's Isfahan province
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Georgia through its ports
Oil price slump could lead to flow of capital towards renewable energy
Production shut-ins amid lower oil prices may be substantial this time
Azerbaijani company begins production of pure alcohol
Gross external debt of Georgia increases
International Investment Position of Georgia down
Iranian currency rates for March 28
Azerbaijan's parliament discloses MPs' coronavirus test results
Iran announces number of wells drilled in oil, gas sector
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender for repair services
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender
Anglo Asian Mining continuing with gold production in Azerbaijan
Iran's president urges for proper implementation of social distancing plan
WB provides additional support to improving efficiency and innovation in Azerbaijan’s judicial system
Outlook for oil market remains bleak in near-term
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 21 times
Coronavirus significantly affects real estate market of Georgia
Iran develops medkits for coronavirus testing
Iran hopes to curb and even eliminate coronavirus spread in upcoming weeks
Iran's housing sales drop due to coronavirus outbreak
Georgian Poti port receives permission for expansion
Georgian TPP receives electricity generating license
Galt & Taggart Investment Bank forecasts possible coronavirus impact on Georgian economy
Review of car re-exports statistics in Georgia
Review of Georgian banking sector external debt
NATO praises Georgia’s efforts against coronavirus
TAP to shape Italy’s gas market in several ways: WoodMac
Australia tightens social distancing rules to combat coronavirus
U.S. COVID-19 cases top 100,000 as deaths surpass 1,500
Number of COVID-19 cases increases in Georgia
Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Mexico registers 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 total deaths
Turkey to cancel all int'l flights over COVID-19 fears
Chile government negotiates bill-paying delay for poor as coronavirus bites
Oman announces 22 new cases of coronavirus, 131 in total
Four passengers die on cruise ship with coronavirus outbreak off Panama
Belgium extends lockdown period until April 18
COVID-19 death toll rises to 12 in Israel
Italy has yet to hit coronavirus peak, lockdown set to be extended
Azerbaijan tightens special quarantine regime
How EU gas markets prepared for coronavirus?
British PM Johnson has coronavirus, self-isolates in Downing Street
Azercell called on Azerbaijanis to show solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic
43 more test positive for coronavirus in Azerbaijan
Greenfields Petroleum announces agreement to defer payment of its senior secured debt
Azerbaijan’s president signs decree to exempt import of some medical supplies from VAT
Azerbaijan's Azeltech talks difficulties in buying composite materials for production
AZAL talks rules for flights on Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku routes for Azerbaijani citizens
Azerbaijan's logistic company talks reasons for decline in freight traffic volumes
Operation of express buses to airport limited in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan restricts entry/exit from regions
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Cesme announced
Azerbaijan's parliament to discuss joining another international document
Azerbaijani MPs to sit no less than 2 meters apart at parliament's session
Current account deficit reaches its historical minimum in Georgia
Volume of cargo transshipment from Slovenia through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Tunisia through Turkish ports disclosed
Georgia increases imports of chemical products from Turkey
Georgian TBC Bank signs loan agreement with OPEC Fund
BOTAS International Limited reveals volume of oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks of Georgia decreases
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
Volume of cargo transshipment from Iran through Turkish ports disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Lebanon through its ports
Volume of cargo transshipment from Libya through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Romania through Turkish ports disclosed
Azerbaijan reveals volume of cargo transportation by all modes of transport
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Algeria through its ports
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
Movement of transit trucks ensured in Azerbaijan, says ministry (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Emergency Ministry increases number of tents at border reception and sorting points (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Coronavirus cases detected in two more Kazakh regions for first time
Belavia extends flight suspension to Georgia
Azerbaijan launched additional six plants producing medical alcohol, says minister
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets
All news