President Vladimir Putin attended the Christmas service in the Transfiguration Cathedral in St. Petersburg.
St. Petersburg has celebrated Christmas, one of the main Christian feasts. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan was full, and people even stood in front of the church praying, unable to enter.
President Vladimir Putin and St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov attended the night Christmas service in the Transfiguration Cathedral. Vladimir Putin congratulated the parish community and city residents.
«My dear fellow-townspeople of St. Petersburg and Leningrad, my best wishes to you on Christmas Day and in the new year. Be healthy and happy. Congratulations! And thanks a lot».
Vladimir Putin spoke to the rector of the cathedral and gave him an icon of Our Lady of Tikhvin as a present. The reciprocal present for the President was an icon of Our Lady of Kazan.
«The main Christmas service in St. Petersburg is traditionally held in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Kazan. Long before the liturgy, hundreds of people came to the cathedral».
So many people wanted to attend the service that the city’s main cathedral could not accommodate them all. But people did not leave, they celebrated Christmas in the square in front of the cathedral.
«Jesus is born! This is a feast uniting Orthodox Christians around the world. I came here because it is the main cathedral, and the metropolitan will serve here».
Christmas is the most important Orthodox Christian feasts after the Easter. Many families have their own traditions of celebration.
«Of course, we have family traditions, we cook a goose and meet with friends and relatives to celebrate Christmas. And to thank God for His grace».
Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga served the liturgy in the Cathedral of our Lady of Kazan. Vyacheslav Makarov, Chairman of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, attended the service.
Festive liturgies were held in most of St. Petersburg churches, with thousands of people present.