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Last Updated: Friday, 7 January, 2005, 13:47 GMT
In pictures: Orthodox Christmas
Cathedral of the Dormition, Moscow
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Many Eastern Orthodox Christians from Russia to the Holy Land have been celebrating Christmas, which falls on 7 January according to the Julian calendar.
Cathedral of the Dormiton in Moscow
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In Russia, the Orthodox Christmas has been an official holiday since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. At the Cathedral of the Dormiton in Moscow the faithful lit candles.
Vladimir Putin
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Russian President Vladimir Putin, who says he is Russian Orthodox, attended a Christmas service in Tver, 150 km (90 miles) north of Moscow.
The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II
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The Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, Alexy II, remembered the Beslan siege during his sermon on Christmas Eve at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on Thursday.
Church of Nativity in Bethlehem.
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The Greek Orthodox Patriarch Irineos attended the Orthodox Christmas service at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem early on 7 January.
St Sava church in central Belgrade
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Orthodox believers in Serbia celebrated Christmas by the Julian calendar, which is two weeks behind the 16th Century Gregorian calendar - used by the Greek Orthodox Church, among others, and by Catholics and Protestants.
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In the medieval Montenegrin capital of Cetinje, Orthodox Serbs and Montenegrins gathered for the traditional burning of Yule logs on Christmas Eve.
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In Turkey, Carlo Tarinas beat other divers to a wooden cross thrown into Istanbul's frigid Golden Horn waterway by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.
Lviv, western Ukraine.
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In Lviv, western Ukraine, children paraded in national dress and sang carols - contrasting with weeks of political street protests.


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