03:39 GMT +316 July 2019
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    Over 2 million Russians visit churches on Christmas

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    More than 2 million of Russians attended services in churches across Russia to mark Christmas, the Russian Interior Ministry said.

    More than 2 million of Russians attended services in churches across Russia to mark Christmas, the Russian Interior Ministry said.

    Some 76,000 police officers and servicemen maintained order and security during Christmas celebrations in Russia, as well as over 4,000 employees of private security firms and about 10,000 members of public organizations.

    Russia's main Christmas service, the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior conducted by the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill, was attended by over 5,000 believers, including Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana.

    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended a service in St. Petersburg's Transfiguration Cathedral, where he was baptized in 1952.

    According to a survey by the Levada Center pollster, about 65 percent of respondents said they would celebrate Christmas this year.

    About 90,000 Muscovites went to churches early on Saturday, and more than 200,000 in Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg.

    The Russian, Jerusalem, Serbian and Georgian Orthodox churches, Athos monasteries, some Catholics and some Protestants celebrate Christmas on January 7 in line with the Julian calendar, while Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and some Orthodox churches celebrate the feast on December 25.

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