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Orthodox Christians celebrate Resurrection of Christ
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Orthodox believers in Russia and other countries of the world celebrate Easter on Sunday, April 19. The coronavirus pandemic did not cancel the celebration but made changes to the ceremony of the convergence of the Holy Fire at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, as well as to Easter services in Russian churches. The day before, the Russian Orthodox Church called on believers to pray at home because of the threat of coronavirus infection, RIA Novosti reports.
Easter came during the quarantine period in Israel. At the ceremony of the descent of the Holy Fire, which was usually witnessed by hundreds of parishioners, a little more than ten people attended, the other traditional participants in the ceremony watched the broadcast from the temple. The removal of fire symbolizes the exit of the "True Light", that is, Jesus, from the tomb.
After the ceremony, the fire went to the Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Savior, where the main Easter service of the Russian Orthodox Church was held, which also underwent changes. The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Cyril appealed to Orthodox believers to stay home on Easter night and not listen to "unreasonable priests" who refute the need for self-isolation.
Chairman of the Synodal Department of the Moscow Patriarchate for the Relations of the Church with Society and the Media Vladimir Legoyda also called on believers to pray at home, calling it a special spiritual experience. He emphasized that the appeal particularly concerns the elderly people and those from the risk group.