Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill led an Easter liturgy at Moscow’s main church – the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.
Midnight Easter Service with candle-lit processions around the outside of churches and Easter cake blessing ceremonies were held in 380 Orthodox churches and monasteries across Moscow.
Around 300,000 people attended Easter ceremonies in Moscow, according to prelimiary estimates.
“Each time we celebrate Easter, it opens up a new chapter in our lives for Resurrected Christ renews human nature, enables us to endure hardships and gives us strength for deeds of kindness, Patriarch Kirill said in his Easter message.
As Christians celebrate Easter, they recall with a special feeling the “atoning deed of the Saviour, His suffering on the Cross and his Holy Resurrection, the Patriarch said.
Patriarch Kirill congratulated President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on Easter.
At the end of the Easter Liturgy, the Patriarch came up to the solea and exchanged triple Easter kisses with Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana (behind), and Sergei Sobyanin and handed them brightly decorated gift boxes. The Moscow Patriarchate’s press service said later there were decorative Easter eggs inside the boxes.
The Easter Liturgy at the Cathedral the Savior began 11:00 pm Moscow Time. The Patriarch, the priests and the faithful, holding lit candles, walked out of the cathedral “to meet the Savior”. After the service, the faithful break their 40-day fast and treat themselves to Easter cakes, cottage cheese “paskha” and died eggs blessed on the eve of the liturgy.