MOSCOW, May 4 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the Russian Orthodox Church has called on people who advocate freedom to be guided more by spiritual rather than material values, the Moscow Patriarchate reported on its website.
“We live at a time when freedom is often interpreted as permissiveness,” Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said in his Easter message to clergy and believers that will be read out in churches across the country during the Paschal liturgy early on Sunday.
“Many people sincerely believe that only power and wealth, health and physical strength can bring liberation,” the patriarch said. “While competing in serving the idols of modern times, they often fail to achieve the main thing - the true purpose of existence.”
“Our resurrected Savior has given us freedom and revealed to us this purpose, which consists in learning the Truth and living a life with God,” the Russian Church leader said.
It is in their struggle with evil that people grow spiritually to become really free, the patriarch added.
Patriarch Kirill will hold a divine liturgy in downtown Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral early on Sunday. Up to 5,000 believers are expected to attend the Easter service.
This year, Russia will celebrate Easter, also known in Orthodox Christianity as Pascha, on May 5 in line with the Julian calendar, following a long period of fasting. Easter is Christianity's most important and joyful feast when the Church commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The last days of Holy Week that precedes Easter are its most important days. On Holy Thursday, the Church remembers the Last Supper of Jesus and the Apostles. Great and Holy Friday is considered the most sorrowful day of the liturgical year because Christians remember Jesus being crucified and dying on the cross.
On Holy Saturday, believers flock to churches to have their Easter eggs and cakes blessed by priests in anticipation of Easter celebrations.
According to the New Testament, Christ was resurrected on the third day after being crucified, which is on Sunday if Friday is included in the day count.
Some 10,000 police officers, servicemen and volunteers will ensure order in Moscow during festivities on Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday, the Interior Ministry reported.