Orthodox Russians mark Easter with night-time service in Moscow

Orthodox Russians mark Easter with night service in Moscow cathedral

/ 04:08 PM May 05, 2024

Orthodox Russians mark Easter with night service in Moscow cathedral

Orthodox pries and believers walk with candles around a church during Orthodox Easter midnight service in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sunday, May 5, 2024. Eastern Orthodox churches observe the ancient Julian calendar and this year celebrate Orthodox Easter on May 5. Associated Press

MOSCOW — Worshippers including President Vladimir Putin packed Moscow’s landmark Christ the Savior Cathedral for a night-time Easter service led by Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church and an outspoken supporter of the Kremlin.

The traditional sung service begun late Saturday, with Kirill delivering well-wishes to Orthodox believers which were broadcast on Russian TV. A procession of white-robed clergy then circled the vast cathedral, rebuilt in post-Soviet times and widely seen as symbolic of Russia’s rejection of its atheist past, as they swung smoking incense censers and chanted the liturgy.


Most Western churches observed Easter on March 31, but the Russian Orthodox Church follows a different calendar.


In his Easter address, Kirill wished for “God’s blessing over Russia,” its people and all countries where the church has a presence.

READ: Pope calls for Orthodox Easter truce in Ukraine war

In a written message published earlier on Saturday on the church’s website, Kirill noted that “awareness of God’s love … gives us strength to overcome the most difficult mental states and difficult circumstances, elevates us above the bustle of everyday life, helps correct previous mistakes and destroys despondency.”

The patriarch this year appeared to steer clear from political pronouncements, unlike last April when he lamented “grave events taking place on our Russian historical land,” referencing Moscow’s military actions in Ukraine and reinforcing the Kremlin’s narrative that Ukrainian statehood is essentially a fiction.

The service, featuring a mixed-voice choir and standing worshippers holding thin red candles, was set to extend well into Sunday.

READ: Russia’s Putin attends midnight Orthodox Easter mass in Moscow


Putin was shown among the worshippers, standing next to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin as the two joined in the traditional Easter greetings. The Russian leader was later seen exchanging festive gifts with Kirill.

Earlier on Saturday, Orthodox Russians headed to churches to have baskets of festive foods, including hand-painted eggs and traditional Easter cakes, blessed by a priest.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Putin has been eager to portray himself as defending “traditional values” espoused by the Russian Orthodox Church in the face of what he repeatedly casts as the West’s “degrading” influence. The country has increasingly taken a conservative turn, with attempts to restrict abortion and broad bans against LGBTQ+ activism and gender transitioning that have met with the church’s support.

TAGS: Orthodox Easter, Russia

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.