Orthodox believers on Sunday celebrate the main Christian holiday - Easter, or the Resurrection of Christ.
Shortly before midnight in the church of Christ the Savior from the procession began a solemn night service. Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill will also perform Easter matins and Divine Liturgy.
By the beginning of the festive service, the delegation of the Andrew the First-Called Foundation, according to the established long-standing tradition, delivered the Holy Fire from Jerusalem to the main church of the Russian Church.
The religious procession performed on that night in all Orthodox churches symbolizes the Myrrh-bearing women walking to the tomb of Christ in the morning and notified by the angel about his resurrection before entering the grave cave. According to the Gospel, Jesus Christ was crucified on Mount Calvary near the walls of Jerusalem, was buried by the closest disciples and on the third day he was resurrected.
As the Russian Church observes, Easter is "ahead of everything: it differs from all other church holidays in the same way that the sun is different from all the objects that reflect it."
The celebration of Easter was established by the apostles. The exact time of the celebration was determined by the First Ecumenical Council in 325. Namely, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first spring full moon - between 4 April and 8 May (according to the new style), after the Jewish Passover.
The Easter service is performed especially solemnly both on the first day of the holiday and throughout the Holy Week - a week after Easter. Although then another 32 days, before the Ascension Day, the Orthodox Church continues to celebrate Christ's resurrection, albeit with less solemnity.
The Old Testament feast of the Passover was established in memory of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, where they were in slavery. Christians mean by "Easter" the transition from death to a new life, from earth to heaven.
Patriarch Kirill in his traditional Easter message congratulated Orthodox Christians on the holiday and wished them the acquisition of "spiritual vigilance" and "Divine presence in life."
"The victory of Christ over death is not only a spiritual but also a physical reality." The Lord Jesus truly resurrected the body for the salvation of all people. With his resurrection, death lost its irreversible character, and for those who believed in Christ became a birth into eternal life, a door that opens the way to heaven, to the Kingdom of God, "says the patriarch's Easter address.
According to the primate, today, when "comfort, success and long life are declared almost the main values of human existence," disciples and followers of Christ, following the apostle Paul, testify that for them "life is Christ, and death is not the end of being ".
"We say and believe so, for we know that God created the soul of man for eternity, how often we, lacking in spirituality and vigilance, lack spiritual spirituality to recognize the transforming power of the divine presence in our lives! these days, even the air itself is as if saturated with incomparable Easter joy, and the love and mercy of God abundantly poured out on each person, "reads the message.
The First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church called on the faithful to share with the people around the "joyful Gospel message," to give their love, care and attention to their relatives, and to create good for those who need help and comfort.