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Orthodox Christians Celebrate Christmas

Orthodox Christians across the globe who retain the Julian calendar are celebrating Christmas Monday. For many, the holiday season often starts with a midnight Mass.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin attended Mass in a church north of Moscow.

Mikhail Saakashvili, fresh from his victorious and controversial Georgian presidential bid, attended the same Mass as his political rival, Levan Gachechiladze.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theofilos the Third welcomed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the midnight Mass at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Russia's Interfax news agency says Christmas this year also will be celebrated in outer space. Yuri Malenchenko, the Russian flight engineer aboard the International Space Station, will mark Orthodox Christmas today with his two American crew members.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.