Members of the Russian Orthodox church celebrated the eastern Christmas in Moscow on Thursday (6 January).
SV Patriarch of Moscow enters church.
GVs Congregation. (2 shots)
SVs Churchmen and Patriarch. (4 shots)
TOP GVs Mass in progress. (2 shots)
SVs Incense being poured around church. (2 shots)
GVs Congregation during Mass. (2 shots)
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Background: Members of the Russian Orthodox church celebrated the eastern Christmas in Moscow on Thursday (6 January).
SYNOPSIS: The celebrations were led by Patriarch Pimen, who's the Patriarch of Moscow and all the Soviet Union. The religion is practised by people all over Russia. On Thursday, hundreds of people gathered at Moscow's Cathedral, which is one of the city's largest churches. Most of the churches in the city are owned by the state and are used as national museums and not by the church.
The Russian Orthodox church was first established in the ninth century, and suffered numerous periods of suppression throughout history. In 1721 Peter the Great suppressed the patriarchate and until 1917 the state maintained effective control of church administration.
Since then, the church has been subject of persecution as well as having its property nationalised. During the second World war, the church was given notable concessions, probably because of its support of the government. In 1944, theological instruction was permitted in several ecclesiastical establishments. Now the Russian Church has the active or passive support of perhaps a quarter of the population of the Soviet Union, and it continues to survive in the face of anti-religious propaganda and administrative pressure.