As Christmas celebrations in western countries are now over, for followers of the Orthodox church around the world, the 7th of January marks the biggest day of celebration. That includes many millions in Russia – and the country’s main cathedral has been packed out to mark the occasion
Church services have taken place across Russia to mark the Orthodox Christmas, with thousands of people attending ceremonies. RT brings you special coverage of the service inside the Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
More than 6,000 people gathered to see the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill lead the procession at Christ the Savior Cathedral.
The liturgy was attended by the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev and his wife. Dmitry Medvedev and Patriarch Kirill exchanged holiday greetings at the altar. President Vladimir Putin attended Christmas service at the Holy Trinity-St George Monastery in Sochi.
It was RT’s honor to bring you live commentary from both locations as the services unfolded.
Orthodox Christmas takes place thirteen days after Western Christmas, on January 7th, in accordance with the old Julian calendar. It is a day of both solemn spiritual reflection and festive celebration.
Christmas services last for over three hours and are accompanied by arguably some of the most beautiful liturgical chants of the year, Sergey Chapnin, editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate told RT
“The main emphasis is on service and prayer. So we have a rather long and complicated service which consists of three main parts: the Great Compline, the Matins and the Divine Liturgy. We have ancient hymns from the fourth and eighth centuries, of course translated to Church Slavonic and traditional Russian melodies,” Chapnin explained.
Make sure to watch our special coverage of the service inside the citadel of Russian orthodoxy, the Christ the Savior Cathedral with commentary by Sergey Chapnin and RT’s Sean Thomas.
The Christmas service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral, Moscow. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)
Solemn service on the feast of the Nativity in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. (RIA Novosti/Ramil Sitdikov)