13:51 GMT16 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, located a few hundred metres from the Kremlin, for an Orthodox Easter service. Orthodox Christians are celebrating Easter this year on 2 May.

    The Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces had about 4,000 people attending the midnight Easter service, according to a Defence Ministry spokesperson. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin attended midnight mass along with the Russian president.

    Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said ahead of the Easter service that even though the coronavirus had paralysed people's lives, churches and cathedrals were starting to fill up again as the infection subsides.

    In his holiday address, Patriarch Kirill said the coronavirus pandemic has reminded people of how fragile their lives are, how important responsibility is, such as adhering to safety regulations, and how valuable in-person interaction turns out to be, as compared to online communication.

    Patriarch Kirill also thanked all the medical workers and volunteers for their efforts in helping those in need and wished everyone both physical and spiritual well-being.

    Last year, Putin did not attend an Easter service because of the pandemic. Instead, the Russian president lit a candle at a chapel at his official residence. In 2019, Putin attended the Easter service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow along with then-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
    church, Vladimir Putin, Orthodox Easter, Russia
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