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Orthodox, Eastern Rite Christians Celebrate Christmas

Most Orthodox and Eastern Rite Christians celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar on January 7, two weeks after Christians who observe the holiday using the Gregorian calendar. Here's a look at how the Orthodox holiday was observed in a number of different countries, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East.

In Kosovo, ethnic Serbs gather around a bonfire at the medieval monastery of Gracanica on the eve of Orthodox Christmas, January 6, 2014
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In Kosovo, ethnic Serbs gather around a bonfire at the medieval monastery of Gracanica on the eve of Orthodox Christmas, January 6, 2014

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Orthodox Priest Bojan Glisic prays on the eve of Orthodox Christmas in the central Bosnian town of Zenica.
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In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbian Orthodox Priest Bojan Glisic prays on the eve of Orthodox Christmas in the central Bosnian town of Zenica.

In Serbia, believers burn dried oak branches, which symbolize the Yule log, on Orthodox Christmas Eve in front of the St. Sava temple in Belgrade.
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In Serbia, believers burn dried oak branches, which symbolize the Yule log, on Orthodox Christmas Eve in front of the St. Sava temple in Belgrade.

Orthodox Christmas Eve in Cetinje, the old royal capital of Montenegro.
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Orthodox Christmas Eve in Cetinje, the old royal capital of Montenegro.

In Ukraine, children wearing traditional clothes take part in an Orthodox Christmas Eve celebration in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.
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In Ukraine, children wearing traditional clothes take part in an Orthodox Christmas Eve celebration in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

In Ukraine, a protester prays in an improvised church in a Ukrainian opposition camp tent on Independence Square in Kyiv on January 6, 2014.
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In Ukraine, a protester prays in an improvised church in a Ukrainian opposition camp tent on Independence Square in Kyiv on January 6, 2014.

In Belarus, people pray in a church in the village of Plisa on January 6, 2014.
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In Belarus, people pray in a church in the village of Plisa on January 6, 2014.

In Russia, Orthodox believers attend a service on the eve of Orthodox Christmas in Kazan Cathedral in Volgograd.
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In Russia, Orthodox believers attend a service on the eve of Orthodox Christmas in Kazan Cathedral in Volgograd.

In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife, Svetlana Medvedeva, attend a Christmas service at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on January 7, 2014.
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In Russia, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his wife, Svetlana Medvedeva, attend a Christmas service at Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow on January 7, 2014.

In Armenia, a young girl holds a candle outside Saint Gregory the Illuminator church in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, during an Armenian Orthodox church service on January 5, 2014
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In Armenia, a young girl holds a candle outside Saint Gregory the Illuminator church in the Armenian capital, Yerevan, during an Armenian Orthodox church service on January 5, 2014

In Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, people attend an Orthodox Christmas service early on January 7, 2014.
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In Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, people attend an Orthodox Christmas service early on January 7, 2014.

An Armenian church Christmas mass in Duhok, Iraq on January 6, 2014.
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An Armenian church Christmas mass in Duhok, Iraq on January 6, 2014.

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