06 January 2012, 18:00
Orthodox Christians of Russian and Georgian Local Churches celebrate Christmas Eve
Today, the Orthodox believers mark the Christmas Eve, the eve of one of the main church holidays – the Christmas. The Christmas Eve is celebrated by believers of four Local Churches of the world – Russian, Georgian, Jerusalem and Serbian ones.
This morning in Moscow, at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, Patriarch Kirill has served the Liturgy of the Christmas Eve; there late in the evening he will serve the Divine Christmas Liturgy.
Simultaneously, the holiday services are held throughout the country, including the regions of the Southern and North-Caucasian Federal Districts (SFD and NCFD), as well as in foreign parishes.
Today, the faithful Christians complete their four-week-long fasting, during which they confess and take communion. According to the tradition, on the Christmas Eve they reject any food "until the first star appears in the sky," which is a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem, which had proclaimed, as they say in the church tradition, the birth of Christ, the Radio "Vesti FM" reports.
In Russia, the main Christmas service to be conducted by the Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church will begin at 10:30 p.m. at the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, the "Interfax" reports.
As reported by the "Georgia Online", today at 11:00 p.m., at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Elias the Second, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, will hold, together with the members of the Holy Synod and the clergy, the festive service.
The Christmas service in South Ossetia will be held in Tskhinvali in the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the IA "Res" reports.
In Abkhazia, the Christmas Eve services were held today in the Kaman Monastery of St John Chrysostom. To celebrate the Christmas, the Kaman Temple in Abkhazia was attended by representatives of the Valaam Monastery and pilgrims from Sochi, Astrakhan and Voronezh, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.
One of the notable Christmas traditions in Abkhazia is the custom to put lit candles behind windows. According to the Gospel, on the night of Christ's birth, Joseph and Mary were looking for shelter in Bethlehem. A burning candle is a kind of invitation of the Virgin to one's house.