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Sputnik/Valeriy Sharifulin/Pool via REUTERS
Sputnik/Valeriy Sharifulin/Pool via REUTERS
World News

Putin does not speak as he attends Orthodox Easter service

by Lydia Davies

Russian President Vladimir Putin participated in an Orthodox Easter service on Sunday, led by Patriarch Kirill, the head of Russia's Orthodox Church and a fervent supporter of both Putin and Russia's military involvement in Ukraine.

Dressed formally, Putin was seen at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow alongside Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, each holding a lit candle during the service that extended from Saturday night into early Sunday.

During the service, Patriarch Kirill expressed his support for the conflict in Ukraine, offering prayers for the protection of Russia’s “sacred borders” and for peace between Russia and Ukraine.

When Kirill announced "Christ is risen", Putin joined the other believers with the reply "He is risen indeed". He otherwise did not speak.

The timing of Easter for Orthodox Christians, including those in the Russian Orthodox Church who follow the Julian calendar, occurs on a different weekend compared to most Western churches that observed Easter on 31st March this year.

According to Yahoo News Putin, for whom the Orthodox faith is central to his worldview, always attends services during major church holidays.

Reuters reported that the church under Kirill has been clamping down on internal dissent, with one priest facing expulsion for refusing to pray to God to guide Russia to victory over Ukraine and another suspended for presiding over memorial services at the grave of Alexei Navalny, the opposition leader who died in an Arctic prison in February.

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