May 19, 2024

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Orthodox Christmas | Putin attends a service alone in the Kremlin chapel

Orthodox Christmas |  Putin attends a service alone in the Kremlin chapel

(Moscow) Vladimir Putin attended a church service in the Kremlin church at midnight on Friday for the Orthodox Christmas marked by the Russian offensive in Ukraine.


The Russian president continued the celebration at the Cathedral of the Annunciation, originally designed as a chapel for tsars, led by priests in the Golden Alps, some of whom held candles, according to footage released by the Kremlin.

PHOTO BY MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV, Sputnik VIA REUTERS

In previous years, Vladimir Putin attended Orthodox Christmas services in the Russian provinces or in the suburbs of Moscow.

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7.

In a message released by the Kremlin on Saturday, the Russian president sent his greetings to Orthodox Christians, indicating that the day encourages “good deeds and aspirations.”

He also said he was praying for Patriarch Kirill, an influential head of the Orthodox Church who fully supported the Russian military offensive in Ukraine decided by Vladimir Putin.

Church organizations “support our soldiers participating in a special military operation,” the Russian president said, using the official Kremlin term for the attack in Ukraine.

“Such a great, multifaceted and authentic monastic work deserves sincere respect,” he added.

Patriarch Kirill called on loyalists to support pro-Russian “brothers” during the Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. Since the offensive in Ukraine began on February 24, he has delivered sermons in which he gave his blessing to Russian troops while chastising Ukrainian officials.

In a sermon last year, he said that dying in Ukraine “washes away all sins.”

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The patriarch had called on Moscow and Kiev on Thursday to establish a ceasefire in Ukraine during Orthodox Christmas celebrations. In the process, Vladimir Putin unilaterally announced a 36-hour ceasefire on Thursday.

But despite the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire, artillery fire continued on Friday in the frontline hot spot of Baghmouth in eastern Ukraine, as did shelling in other areas.

AFP journalists heard footage from the Ukrainian and Russian sides after the ceasefire began in the city.