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Christmas Eve celebrated by parishioners of ROC
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Sochelnik or Christmas Eve is celebrated today, January 6, by believers of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), RIA Novosti reports. By tradition, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow led the morning service in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior. The head of the ROC in his letter called the Nativity of Christ the most important event in human history.
The head of the ROC advised the worshippers to visit their relatives, parents and friends, to thank them for their good deeds.
On Christmas Eve, the 40-day Christmas fast ends. This day is considered the hardest, for many believers it is marked by a complete rejection of food. One can eat only after the appearance of the first star in the sky, which symbolizes the Star of Bethlehem. Now the star is symbolized by the candle in front of the altar, which is lit at the end of the service on Christmas Eve. Usually, they put it on the table with a sochivo: this is the name of a decoction of wheat or rice with honey and fruits. From the name of the dish went the name of the holiday itself - Sochelnik.
An hour before midnight, the head of the ROC will begin the Christmas service. Services will be held on the night of January 7 and tomorrow morning in more than thirty thousand Orthodox churches around the world. Some other Orthodox churches are beginning to celebrate Christmas today.