MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has started night Christmas service in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

“The bright holiday has come to our homes, it came to people who meet the message of Christ the Savior’s birth with open heart. Those who close their hearts miss the holiday: it comes to us in the form of traditions, some customs and feasts, but it does not give that internal spiritual joy which a believer has when he comes into contact with the Savior who was born in Bethlehem,” the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church addressed the believers ahead of the service.

Only people with spiritual freedom can overcome all troubles with dignity, the patriarch said. “People face many problems, grieves and illnesses throughout their lives, and to prevent these obstacles from breaking us we should be strong within and have freedom. And Jesus Christ brought this power and this freedom to us,” he said.

The patriarch added that each believer has eternal life, but first he has to go his “life journey” first. “We should accept Christ with our hearts and minds in order to find salvation and so that this way did not to break us nor distorted our nature nor plunged us into the slavery to sin,” the patriarch said.

“I wish Christ’s peace and the light brought by the Savior to be in your hearts and give you power to travel your life journey with dignity,” he said.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his spouse Svetlana are attending an overnight Orthodox Christmas service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow.

The service lasts for several hours and is broadcast live by several national television channels, including Channel One and Rossiya-1.

Several thousand worshippers gathered for the Christmas service at the Christ the Savior Cathedral. Young students of an Orthodox school are standing near the prime minister and his wife.

For the convenience of people in Moscow during the Christmas celebrations, the subway system of the Russian capital will be running for an additional hour – until 2:00 a.m. Moscow time.

Attending Orthodox Christmas services by the heads of the Russian government became a tradition since 1992, when Russia’s then-President Boris Yeltsin attended the service for the first time ever.

Orthodox Christians in Russia and other countries around the world are celebrating Christmas on January 7, an event which 2018 years ago marked the beginning of the new history of mankind.

Christians conclude a four-week fast during which they confess their sins and receive communion. And on Christmas Eve they have special fasting, “until the first star,” in memory of how the Magi came first to the birthplace of Christ following the movement of the star in the sky. At present, a candle in front of the altar, which is lit at the end of the Christmas Eve service at about noon, symbolizes the star.

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