SOURCE: International Business Times
By Simi John
May 06, 2013
Orthodox Christians around the world celebrated the Easter or the Holy Pascha. The Orthodox believe Pascha to be the most ancient and important celebration of Christianity, with the services similar to the one held at the tomb of Christ in Jerusalem since the third century.
On the eve of Orthodox Easter, thousands of Christians gathered in Jerusalem's ancient Church of the Holy Sepulchre for the Holy Fire ceremony. They believe that the fire is sent from heaven to ignite candles held by the Greek Orthodox patriarch. The centuries-old annual rite, which symbolises the resurrection of Jesus, is thought to date from the ninth century.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wished Orthodox Christians and all Russians celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“The Easter gives joy and hope to millions of people, inspires for good deeds and noble aspirations. It turns them to original spiritual values that play a special role in Russia’s history and feed the national culture,” the Kremlin press office quoted Putin as saying in his congratulatory letter.
“The Church incessantly cares about strengthening high moral and ethical ideals and family traditions in society and upbringing the younger generation. The Church does a lot to solve pressing social problems,” he added.
Scroll down to take a look at Orthodox Christians celebrating Easter around the world.
| | Russian Christian Orthodox worshippers light candles as they wait for a holy Easter service at the Church of St. Peter and Paul in Karlovy Vary May 5, 2013. The spa town of Karlovy Vary has a large number of Russian residents and is also a popular tourist destination for visitors from Russia. Photo: Reuters
| | A Christian worshipper kisses a pillar at the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, before the Orthodox Easter service, May 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters
| | An Orthodox Christian priest holds Easter eggs during an Orthodox Easter mass at Saint Sava church in Mitrovica, May 5, 2013. Ethnic Serbs from the Serb-dominated northern part of the ethnically divided town of Mitrovica cross the bridge to attend a mass at Saint Sava church located in the town's Albanian-dominated south. Photo: Reuters
| | Russian President Vladimir Putin (R), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) and his wife Svetlana (C) attend an Orthodox Easter service conducted by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow May 5, 2013. Photo: Reuters
| | People walk around the 10th century monastery of St. John the Baptist "Sv. Jovan Bigorski" during Orthodox Christian Easter service near Mavrovo, 130 km (81 miles) west of Macedonia's capital Skopje, May 5, 2013. Picture taken with long exposure. Photo: Reuters.
| | A Serbian priest holds an icon during an Orthodox Easter service in the St. Sava's temple in Belgrade May 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters
| | Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, leads an Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow May 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters
| | An Ethiopian Orthodox worshipper holds a candle during the Holy Fire ceremony at the Ethiopian section of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City May 4, 2013. Photo: Reuters