Europe

In pictures: Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas

  • 7 January 2016
  • From the section Europe
Media captionRussia has the world's biggest Orthodox Christian community

Orthodox Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas.

Communities from Europe, Africa and the Middle East marked the event - each with their own unique traditions - on Thursday, in line with the Julian calendar.

In the Russian capital Moscow, some 350,000 people took part in Christmas liturgies.

Other countries celebrated with firework displays, traditional log-burning ceremonies and processions.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Egypt's Orthodox Coptic Christians make up about 10% of the country's 90 million people and many attended Christmas services at Cairo's Orthodox Cathedral amid tightened security
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Among the worshippers at Cairo's Orthodox Cathedral were Ethiopian Christians, who had fasted for 43 days
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Churches across the Georgian capital Tbilisi were lit up to celebrate the occasion
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption People in Tblisi participated in the "Alilo", a religious procession
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Image caption Thousands of Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia made their way to city of Lalibela - where there are 11 ancient monolithic structures carved out of solid granite
Image copyright AP
Image caption Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a midnight service at a church in the village of Turginovo, about 90 miles (150 km) north-west of Moscow
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Image caption Many Orthodox Christians in Russia - home to the world's largest Orthodox community - attend night services to mark Christmas. Here, a Russian monk attaches a Christmas tree branch to an icon inside a church ahead of the service
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Image caption Greek Orthodox swimmer Nico Solis holds up a wooden cross after retrieving it from the Bosphorus strait during the Blessing of Water ceremony, as part of celebrations of the Epiphany day at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate in Istanbul, Turkey
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption In Serbia, many attended the Badnja - or Yule log burning - ceremony in Belgrade
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Others gathered to receive a piece of traditional Christmas bread
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Image caption Services at Orthodox churches throughout Armenia were well attended for Christmas services
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Image caption Two-thirds of Macedonia's population are Orthodox Christian
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption In Belarus, where most Christians follow Eastern Orthodoxy, priests visited military bases to bless troops
Image copyright EPA
Image caption In the West Bank city of Bethlehem, members of a Syrian pipe band paraded outside the Church of the Nativity
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Image caption A Palestinian woman in Gaza City lights a candle at the Porphyrios Greek Orthodox church. There are said to be just over 1,000 Christians in Gaza, almost all of them Orthodox
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Image caption Egypt's President Adbul Fattah al-Sisi greeted Christians at a Christmas Eve Mass in Cairo
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Expatriate Orthodox communities in Australia were among the first to celebrate Christmas