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Russian Christians Mark Orthodox Christmas Saturday


Millions of Russian christians are celebrating Orthodox Christmas Saturday.

At an overnight service in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy, offered a message of peace. He urged believers to mark Christmas with good deeds and to obey the 10 Commandments.

Earlier Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin attended a Christmas Eve service at a cathedral in the Siberian city of Yakutsk. The Itar-Tass news agency says Mr. Putin wished his fellow Russians happiness, peace, prosperity and success, and he urged them to help those in need.

At the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI extended Christmas greetings to Orthodox Christians as Roman Catholics marked the feast of the Epiphany (the Three Kings or Wise Men who tradition says brought gifts to Jesus following his birth).

Many Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on the Julian calendar - about two weeks later than most other Christians.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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