OTRADNOYE, January 7. - Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated all Orthodox Christians on Christmas.
This year, the president celebrated the holiday in Russia’s Otradnoye village near the southern city of Voronezh, where he attended a Christmas service at a local church.
The Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian calendar and celebrates Christmas on January 7.
The Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in the Otradnoye village, accommodating some 450 people, was crowded during the Christmas Eve service.
Putin sent his greetings to the congregation and personally thanked Archpriest Gennady Zaridze, the rector of the church, who helped to restore the building and open a church-run orphanage.
The church in Otradnoye is among the country’s cultural heritage sites. Construction work began in 1893 and lasted eight years. In 1930, the church was closed and used as a grain storage facility. The restoration began only in 1991.