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Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter

Easter Eggs in Tbilisi,Georgia (InterPressNews) April 23, 2006 -- Religious leaders issued calls for peace today as more than 200 million Orthodox and Eastern Rite Christians celebrated Easter.

In Istanbul, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians, led a midnight service at the Church of St. George to mark the resurrection of Christ. He denounced fanaticism and the lack of respect for human life.

In Jerusalem and the West Bank town of Bethlehem, Orthodox pilgrims gathered for midnight Eastern mass.

In Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised the Russian Orthodox Church for helping revive traditional moral values.

And on Romania's Black Sea coast, several thousand people celebrated Easter Mass on the beach.

The evening service, which was broadcast on national television, was led by five priests from a makeshift altar, lit by candles and multicolor stroboscopic lights.

Father Florin Rusu, who helped organize the event, said the church wanted to keep in touch with its flock, especially young people.

(compiled from agency reports)

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