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Christmas Eve For Orthodox, Eastern Rite Christians

It's Christmas Eve for many Orthodox and Eastern Rite Christians.

The faithful will be concluding a monthlong period of fasting during which they confessed their sins and received forgiveness and communion from the church.

On Christmas Eve, the fasting will continue "until the first star," a tradition stemming from the Biblical account of how the Three Wise Men arrived at the birthplace of Christ in Bethlehem by following a star.

A candle in front of the altar is lit at the end of Christmas Eve services at about noon to symbolize the star.

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill will recite the Christmas Eve liturgy at a January 6 festive service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. The night service at the cathedral will be telecast by Russian television.

Services will be held at night and on Christmas morning in almost 30,000 churches worldwide that are affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church.

With reporting by TASS

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