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7 Apr, 2008 06:00

Doves freed for coming of Jesus

The Russian Orthodox Church is celebrating the Annunciation, when Archangel Gabriel told the Virgin Mary that she would bear the child Jesus, Son of God.

It is one of the 12 main religious events of the year.

A ceremony has taken place in the Annunciation Cathedral on Red Square in central Moscow.

The Head of the Orthodox Church in Russia, Partiarch Aleksy II, released several white pigeons following the mass.

The freeing of the birds symbolises the spreading of Jesus' incarnation around the world.

Traditionally in Russia, believers avoid hard work on Annunciation Day.