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Orthodox Christians Celebrate Christmas

Millions of Orthodox Christians around the globe are celebrating Christmas.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin attended services at the newly-built Holy Face of Christ the Savior Church in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, which will host the Winter Olympics due to begin next month.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev marked the date of Jesus' birth in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, where the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, conducted the Midnight Mass.

In Egypt, celebrations were held under tight security amid fears that Islamist militants would target churches. Reports said many churches held Midnight Mass several hours early so that worshippers could avoid returning home when streets are dark and empty.

Orthodox Christians who celebrate Christmas on January 7 do so because they follow the Julian calendar, which is 13 days behind the new Gregorian calendar of most other Christians.

Based on reporting by Itar-Tass, dpa, and AP