Russia’s Putin attends the midnight Orthodox Easter service in Moscow

(Reuters) – President Vladimir Putin on Sunday attended an Easter service hosted by the Russian Orthodox Church, which has strongly supported the Kremlin leader’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Putin, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and dark purple tie, stood apart inside Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior, holding a lit red candle showing live footage of the midnight service. He was there last year too.

The Russian leader crossed himself several times during the ceremony known as the Divine Liturgy. When Patriarch Kirill proclaimed “Christ is risen,” Putin joined the other members of the congregation in replying, “Verily He is risen.” Otherwise he did not speak.

Kirill’s statements in support of the Russian invasion, condemning Kiev and Western nations as an act of aggression, have fragmented the world Orthodox Church.

In January, in an Orthodox Christmas message, Putin commended the church for supporting Moscow’s armed forces fighting in Ukraine to win people over to his vision of modern Russia.

Political cartoons about world leaders

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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