16 APRIL 2017
Over 300,000 people have visited Moscow’s churches and monasteries over the Easter weekend in Russia. Police patrols were on alert to prevent breaches of peace and crime, with over 6,000 officers deployed to guard the city’s monasteries and churches.
Easter is the red letter day in the Orthodox calendar. The holy day is being celebrated by believers worldwide, with large-scale festivities to be held in Russia on Sunday.
Easter services are also organized at all Russian Orthodox churches across the world, the number of which exceeds 30,000.
But the largest service, helmed by Patriarch Kirill, is being held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The service lasts several hours, well into the early hours of Sunday.
A group of pilgrims have also delivered the Holy Fire from the Old City of Jerusalem to the Russian Cathedral of Christ the Savior. It is lit each year at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem on the day preceding Orthodox Easter. Tens of thousands of pilgrims visited Jerusalem on Saturday to observe the ‘Holy Fire’ ceremony.
The Holy Fire has been perceived by generations of Orthodox believers as a miracle. It’s through divine intervention that the first flame comes to life, the faithful believe. Pilgrims say it doesn’t burn in the first minutes after it has been lit. Parts of the Holy Fire are ‘spread out’ between churches across the country, placed in torches akin to those used to transport the Olympic Flame.
After parishioners lit the candles from the Holy Fire, Kirill started the procession around the cathedral, glorifying the Resurrection. Priests and believers carrying crosses and icons get going around the church. The procession climaxed when the Patriarch announced “Christ is risen!”, meaning the Holy Day has started.
After midnight and for the next 40 days after Easter Sunday, Orthodox Christians will be greeting each other with the words "Christ is risen!" expecting the reply "He is risen indeed!" The end of the short dialogue is celebrated by three traditional kisses.
The festivities at the Christ the Savior Cathedral where attended by President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin.
Christians celebrate Easter to mark the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion. The Resurrection of the Savior symbolizes his victory over sin and death.
Preparations for Easter celebrations begin on the last day of the Holy Week, known in Russia as Passion Week. On Holy Saturday believers come to churches to have their paschal cakes and eggs blessed by priests.
Easter is preceded by a long period of fasting. Believers abstain from meat, fish, eggs and dairy products for 48 days, spending time in prayer.
The real challenge is to help people refine their souls and learn to restrain desire.
Russians celebrate the end of Lent by painting colorful eggs – as a rule red, as a symbol of the blood of Christ - they exchange with each other, and preparing rich Easter cakes with raisins and nuts.
Easter is a moveable feast. Eastern and Western Christianity base their calculations on different calendars. The former uses Julian calendar, the latter Gregorian, so their Easter days differ.
Last year it was marked by the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant and Anglican churches on the same day, which happens quite rarely.
In 2012 nearly half a million Muscovites flocked to the country's churches to take part in evening and night services across the Russian capital. The largest service drew 6,000 people and was held at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. Patriarch Kirill, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, led the Easter service in Moscow's landmark Cathedral.
More than 6,000 people attended the Easter service at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow
© Russia Today. 06 May, 2013
Photo: A pre-Revolutionary Easter card depicts the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna and the Tsesarevich Alexei distributing Easter eggs to soldiers.
St. Petersburg-based State Museum of History is offering a rich collection of 19th-20th century Easter greeting cards at an exhibition that opened on Thursday, ITAR-TASS reports. Festive attributes and symbols will make it possible to trace all the stages of the great Christian Holiday from the Palm Sunday to the Bright Week. Visitors will also be able to see greetings, addresses and the names of dispatchers and recipients on the reverse sides of the cards.
The first domestic Easter greeting cards include a series of illustrated Easter cards issued by the Community of St. Eugenia in 1898. They are made in water colors and are devoted to “spring themes”. The Community’s publishing house often returned to the Easter theme in future. The sketches for the Easter greeting cards were drawn by Ivan Bilibin, Fyodor Berenshtam, Yevgeny Bem and other famous artists.
The exposition also features greeting cards made by other publishers such as the Richard publishing house in St. Petersburg, the Lenz and Rudolf publishers in Riga, the Kiev-based “Rassvet” (Dawn) publishers, the Vienna-based “M.Munk” and “The Publishing House of I. Lapin” in Paris. They depict traditional Easter eggs, Easter cakes, churches, spring landscapes and people exchanging triple kisses as well as some untypical images borrowed from Western Europe such as rabbits, lapins and chicks.
Photo cards, including portraits and still-life paintings, were no less popular than drawn cards. Most of them were shot in the studio and were often painted manually in aniline colors.
A special section is devoted to Easter cards issued during WWI. New attributes and new characters appeared on those Easter cards such as soldiers and nurses. One of the last cards was issued in 1917. An unknown artist drew a red Easter egg as a symbol of revolutionary events in Russia. Soon, all Easter celebrations were abolished and Easter greeting cards disappeared from Soviet life. Easter traditions were preserved only by Russian emigrants abroad. Church publishing houses printed a small number Easter cards after the Great Patriotic War. The tradition of printing Easter cards started to revive in the late 1980s.
The exhibit runs until June 17th in the History Museum of St. Petersburg which is located inside the SS Peter and Paul Fortress.
© Russkiy Mir. 26 April, 2013
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