Nearly week after ringing in the New Year to the rousing strains of the rehabilitated Soviet anthem, Russians were getting ready Saturday to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.
Up to 80 million Russians are members of the Russian Orthodox church, which does not recognize the "new-style" Western calendar introduced by the Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII in 1582.
Orthodox Christians, who have enjoyed a revival in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, celebrate Christmas on January 7, which is December 25 under the "old-style" Julian calendar.
Patriarch Alexis II, the spiritual leader of Russian Orthodoxy, was due to conduct the main Christmas Eve service at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior on Saturday -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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