Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Patriarch Kirill, Easter in Moscow, with messages to the Pope and Protestants

Proclaiming the traditional 'Christos Voskrese!' (Christ has risen) and the response of the faithful 'Voistinu voskrese' (Truly he has risen), Patriarch Kirill invited Russian Orthodox attending Easter ceremonies in the Cathedral Christ the Savoir in Moscow to change their lives "in agreement with this great hope" that is the Resurrection. 

"Rejecting what belongs to darkness, what does not belong to Christianity: evil, hatred, envy". Orthodox Easter this year coincided with the Catholic Easter and on the eve of the festival, the Patriarch sent a message to the Pope and Protestant leaders calling for "common witness to the truth of God ... to profess peace, justice and love."

In Moscow, Kirill also celebrated the Vigil on Saturday in the presence of President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, both accompanied by their wives. In the cathedral a symbol of the religious revival of the post-Soviet Russia, the Patriarch officiated the traditional fire ceremony and led the procession circle (symbol of eternity) within the church. 

The rite is the search for Jesus after his death at its end the Resurrection is proclaimed and the bells rung. Kirill invited the community to be optimistic: "The Resurrection is the victory of life over death ... our vision of the world should be peaceful and joyful because Christ is risen." 

The message of Easter greetings was also an occasion for the head of the Kremlin to reassert the importance of orthodox values in strengthening the foundations of Russian society as well as interethnic and interreligious harmony in Russia. Fruitful interaction with the State and Orthodox Church - Medvedev added - helps the development of our country. "

According to a poll by the Levada Center, the majority of Russians celebrate Easter according to tradition: coloured eggs, paskha cake, the Kulich, the Russian cake commemorating bread Jesus broke during the Last Supper and all the dishes prohibited during the 'great fast' that preceded the religious holiday (candied fruit, cheese, butter, almonds, vanilla).

27% of Russians also organized the typical family picnic on the grave of a deceased relative, a custom unrelated to faith, but nonetheless widespread. So much so that the authorities have imposed a two-day ban on the sale of alcohol in the vicinity of cemeteries in the area of Moscow.

On Easter evening, the Russians continued to celebrate with a feast based on different types of meat, fish and mushrooms. 

According to the Levada poll, however, only 9% of the population took part in religious services. 

This is mostly students and people over 55 years, residents of small towns and villages.