Russian Christmas services

For the second Christmas in a row, President Putin attended services in Sochi, this time at a newly consecrated church in Sochi on Christmas Eve. Sochi is the southern Russian city where the Olympic Winter games will be hosted in February.

President Putin, Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2014.
Newly consecrated church, Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2014.

President Putin typically celebrates Christmas in provincial churches outside of Moscow.

Russian Orthodox faithful attend a midnight vigil over Christmas even and into the early hours of Christmas morning.

President Putin, Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2014.
President Putin, Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2014.

No stranger to church liturgies, Mr. Putin was presented an icon in commemoration of the new church and then he stood in the front with other worshipers.

President Putin, Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2013.
President Putin, Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2013.

The service was held in the new church of Christ the Saviour, recently constructed next to the Olympic Park in Sochi’s Imereti Valley.

Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2013.
Sochi, Christmas Eve, January 2013.

Russian Patriarch Kirill has consecrated the Sochi church with a shrine containing sacred relics brought from Mount Athos in Greece, believed to be the gifts of gold, Frankincense and myrrh presented by the Magi, or Three Wise Men to the Baby Jesus.

Dome of the new church in Sochi.
Dome of the new church in Sochi.

In polls more than 70 percent of Russians describe themselves as Orthodox believers and the country is also home to a large Muslim population.

New Orthodox church in Sochi, built to accommodate the Olympics.
New Orthodox church in Sochi, built to accommodate the Olympics.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife attended the country’s main Christmas service in Moscow’s Church of Christ the Saviour, led by Patriarch Kirill of all the Russias.

border cmas blue

Here is a Christmas message from President Putin to Russian Orthodox Christians:

Православным христианам, всем гражданам России, празднующим Рождество Христово

7 января 2014 года

Сердечно поздравляю вас с Рождеством Христовым.

Этот светлый праздник питает самые добрые чувства и помыслы, служит единению миллионов людей на основе общих духовных ценностей и исторических традиций, неотъемлемой частью которых являются взаимное уважение и согласие, милосердие и забота о ближнем.

Русская православная церковь, представители других христианских конфессий России активно и созидательно участвуют в жизни страны и общества, содействуют достойному воспитанию подрастающего поколения, поддержке семьи, материнства и детства, уделяют неустанное внимание сохранению нашего уникального культурного наследия, делам просвещения и благотворительности.

Желаю православным христианам, всем, кто отмечает праздник Рождества Христова, здоровья, благополучия, счастья.

В. Путин

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