Eggstraordinary day: Easter celebrations in Russia (VIDEO)
Almost half a million Muscovites took part in the festivities around the Russian capital. But the largest service – attended by six thousand people – was held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior and was helmed by Patriarch Kirill. Patriarch Kirill received the Holy Fire delivered directly from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the "miracle" takes place annually. After lighting the candles, Kirill led the procession around the cathedral. The procession climaxed when the Patriarch announced “Christ is risen!”The festivities where attended by President Dmitry Medvedev, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin. Kirill gave decorative Easter eggs to the country’s top officials. Medvedev, in turn, gave an Easter egg of his own to Kirill. Prior to the celebration, Patriarch Kirill addressed believers, advising them to pray for everyone and to come to church with a serene and peaceful heart. Easter services are being held at all Russian Orthodox churches around the globe, the number of which exceeds 30,000. Christians celebrate Easter to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is a moveable feast – but Eastern and Western Christianity base their calculations on different calendars. The former uses Julian calendar, the latter – Gregorian, therefore their Easter days differ. This year Orthodox Easter comes a week later than the Western Christian holiday. Russians celebrate the end of Lent by painting eggs and preparing special Easter cakes containing raisins and nuts.