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    CHRISTMAS SERVICE IN MOSCOW TO BE HELD IN CHURCH OF CHRIST THE SAVIOUR

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    MOSCOW, January 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Olga Lipich) -- On Christmas Eve, January 6th, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II will conduct a service in the Church of Christ the Saviour.

    On the night of January 6/7 primate of the Russian Orthodox Church will lead the complin, orthros and the communion service in the capital's main cathedral, the Moscow Patriarchy's exterior church relations department reported. The service devoted to Christmas will start at 10 p.m.

    According to the Orthodox Church's rules, Christmas is preceded by a forty-day Christmas fast that starts on November 28th and ends on January 6th.

    On Christmas Eve, January 6th, devout Christians do not eat at all and by 10 p.m. they got to church for the complin, orthros and the communion service. Only after the first star, symbol of the Bethlehem star, has risen, they are allowed to eat coliphia, a lenten meal of wheat or rice with honey and fruit.

    The Church teaches that Christmas symbolizes the triumph of reconciliation between a man and God, annunciates Jesus Christ's redemptory deed and renewal of human nature, afflicted by the Fall of the forefathers.

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