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Orthodox Christians Celebrate Easter Sunday

Thousands of Orthodox Christians have gathered to mark Easter Sunday in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

Pilgrims from the eastern Orthodox faiths, including Greeks, Copts, Russians and Assyrians chanted and prayed during Mass celebrated by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of the Holy Land, Theofilos the Third.

Roman Catholics and Protestants, using a different calendar, celebrated Easter last week.

In Moscow, President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin marked the holiest day of the Christian calendar standing side-by-side at a church service presided over by Russian Patriarch Kirill, who was elected earlier this year.

Mr. Putin, an ex KGB agent who served two terms as president, issued a statement praising what he called the "great contributions" made by the church "in consolidating state and society."

Several thousand Georgian worshippers also celebrated Easter at the Trinity Cathedral in the capital, Tbilisi.

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