Russia celebrates Orthodox Easter, with President Vladimir Putin and successor Dmitry Medvedev among those who attended service. Throughout his two terms in office, Putin has presided over a close rapprochement between state and church.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his successor Dmitry Medvedev are attending an Orthodox Easter midnight mass in Moscow, the Kremlin said, days from the latter's May 7 inauguration.
"Easter is a very important holiday for all Orthodox (worshippers)," government spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP, adding that the two leaders had already attended an Easter service together in 2007, before Putin nominated Medvedev to replace him.
The midnight mass (1800 GMT Saturday) at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in central Moscow is given by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II.
The Kremlin released two statements, one from each leader.
"This holiday shows just how important national traditions and spiritual values and ideas are for our people," Putin said in his statement.
During his eight years in office, Putin brought about a spectacular rapprochement between the state and the church, proudly displaying his own faith.
The majority religion across Russia, around 9,000 Orthodox churches and monasteries are expecting some six million people for these services, the interior ministry said.
Date created : 2008-04-27