Russian Church celebrates Easter

Russian Church celebrates Easter

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Russian Church celebrates Easter

A boy lights a candle during an Easter service for Russian Orthodox Old Believers at a church in this photo. REUTERS photo

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrated Easter yesterday with a service attended by the political elite in a now familiar sign of its growing power in post-Soviet Russia. President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin were among the political leaders present at the service led by Orthodox Patriarch Kirill at the vast Moscow Church of Christ the Savior.

The Russian Orthodox Church has seen a huge upsurge in power after the fall of the atheist Soviet Union and its leaders take a strong stand on moral issues that the Kremlin hardly ever ignores.

“It gives joy to say that in the last years cooperation between the Church, the state and public institutions has become considerably enhanced,” Putin said.“New areas (for cooperation) have emerged in culture and education, bringing up children and strengthening the family, as well as charity.

“I am sure that such cooperation will develop in the future to the benefit of our Fatherland,” said Putin.