This Saturday evening the largest Orthodox Church in the world was filled to capacity with over 7,000 parishioners there to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill.
As is their practice each year, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana Medvedeva, and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin attended the Easter liturgy.
Above: a deacon assists President Putin and Mayor Sobyanin in lighting their Easter Candles. Unseen in this photo but standing next to Mr. Putin were Svetlana Medvedeva and Prime Minister Medvedev. Candles are lit with a flame transported via chartered airplane from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem.
Orthodox Easter liturgies around the world are celebrated in what is called an “all night vigil” with services that begin in the late evening and last until very early morning, usually around three hours. The Orthodox term for Easter is Пасха (Pash-ka) which is Greek for “great night.”
Patriarch Kirill addressed the crisis in Ukraine by saying, We pray for enemies to reconcile, for violence to stop. We pray that people be merciful to one another no matter what divides them and separates them from each other. All the children of our common Church have Ukraine in their hearts, and our hearts are aching for the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
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Whether Христос воскресe (Kristos Vos-krese means Christ is risen) is said as a greeting from one person to another or when in a service is shouted by the priest, the congregation or other person responds with Воистину воскрес (va-IST-in-oo vas-KRES) which means truly risen!
It is common practice for the presiding priest to hand out tiny round Easter loaves about the size of a cupcake and also a red Easter egg. According to some Christian traditions when Mary Magdalene met Emperor Tiberius in Rome she greeted him with: Christ has risen ; whereupon he pointed to an egg on his table and quipped, Christ has no more risen than that egg is red. Legend has it that the egg turned red.
For a better understanding on how Easter is celebrated in Russia and the areas of the former Soviet Union visit our Easter page: https://russianreport.wordpress.com/religion-in-russia/easter-in-russia/
Learning how to say Russian phrases can be found here: https://russianreport.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/how-to-say-russian-easter-phrases/