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Celebrations Of Orthodox Christmas


Georgian Orthodox believers walk to the Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi for Christmas Mass. - Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7, in keeping with the traditional Julian calendar, which sets the holiday 13 days later than the more widespread Gregorian calendar. Photos by AFP, epa, and RFE/RL
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Georgian Orthodox believers walk to the Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi for Christmas Mass. - Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7, in keeping with the traditional Julian calendar, which sets the holiday 13 days later than the more widespread Gregorian calendar.

Photos by AFP, epa, and RFE/RL

In Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana cross themselves during a service on Christmas Eve.
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In Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana cross themselves during a service on Christmas Eve.

Kosovo Serbs in the town of Gracanica wave Serbian flags and carry oak branches, a traditional Christmas symbol.
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Kosovo Serbs in the town of Gracanica wave Serbian flags and carry oak branches, a traditional Christmas symbol.

The dried oak branches are later burned in a ceremony like this one at the Saint Sava Cathedral in Belgrade.
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The dried oak branches are later burned in a ceremony like this one at the Saint Sava Cathedral in Belgrade.

Believers light candles at the St. Peter Cathedral in Minsk, Belarus.
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Believers light candles at the St. Peter Cathedral in Minsk, Belarus.

Christians in Kyrgyzstan celebrate Christmas Eve in costume.
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Christians in Kyrgyzstan celebrate Christmas Eve in costume.

A believer in Turkey kisses a wooden cross thrown into the water by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew. - Some Orthodox Christians in Turkey took part in Epiphany Day celebrations on January 6 by jumping into the Bosphorus to retrieve a cross cast into the water by a priest.
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A believer in Turkey kisses a wooden cross thrown into the water by Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew. - Some Orthodox Christians in Turkey took part in Epiphany Day celebrations on January 6 by jumping into the Bosphorus to retrieve a cross cast into the water by a priest.

Bulgarian men perform the traditional Horo dance in the river Tundzha in the town of Kalofer. - Bulgarians also celebrate Epiphany Day in the water. According to tradition, whoever retrieves the cross from the water will be healthy throughout the year, as well as everyone who dances in the water.
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Bulgarian men perform the traditional Horo dance in the river Tundzha in the town of Kalofer. - Bulgarians also celebrate Epiphany Day in the water. According to tradition, whoever retrieves the cross from the water will be healthy throughout the year, as well as everyone who dances in the water.

Pope Shenuda III, the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox church, blesses bread to be handed out during Mass. - Orthodox Christmas in Egypt was marred by news of a drive-by shooting outside a church in Naj Hammadi, in the country's south. Six Coptic Christians and a security official were killed in the attack, which took place after midnight Mass.
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Pope Shenuda III, the head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox church, blesses bread to be handed out during Mass. - Orthodox Christmas in Egypt was marred by news of a drive-by shooting outside a church in Naj Hammadi, in the country's south. Six Coptic Christians and a security official were killed in the attack, which took place after midnight Mass.

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