Fire And Ice: Orthodox Christmas Celebrations Held Amidst Pandemic

1 Boys in traditional clothing inside Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Cathedral as Georgians mark Orthodox Christmas early in the morning of January 7.  2 Christians burn oak branches in…

1 Boys in traditional clothing inside Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Cathedral as Georgians mark Orthodox Christmas early in the morning of January 7. 

2 Christians burn oak branches in front of St. Sava Cathedral in Belgrade on January 6. The tradition of burning oak is believed to predate Christianity but is now a central part of Christmas celebrations in much of the Balkans.  

3 Believers in face masks during Christmas mass at St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv. 

4 Russian Orthodox devotees adjust their face masks inside Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. 

5 Garegin II, the head of the Armenian Apostolic Church, leads a religious service on Orthodox Christmas Eve on January 6. The service was not attended by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, as Garegin has called for his resignation because of his handling of the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

6 Macedonian Orthodox believers at the Church of St. Clement of Ohrid in Skopje. 

7 Russian President Vladimir Putin attends Orthodox Christmas mass at a small, 13th-century church near Veliky Novgorod. 

8 Orthodox Christians maintain social distancing inside Belgrade’s St. Sava Church before the Christmas mass. 

9 Christmas mass in a cathedral in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan. Orthodox Christianity is the second-largest religion in the predominantly Muslim country. 

10 A woman prays in the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank city of Bethlehem. The grotto in the church is considered by Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ. 

11 Russian Patriarch Kirill conducts the Christmas service at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. 

12 Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo attend mass in the village of Gusterica. 

13 Crowds listen to the Christmas sermon inside Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. 

14 Montenegrin believers burn oak trees in Cetinje. 

15 Armenians attend a Christmas mass in Yerevan. 

16 A girl lights a candle during a Christmas service in the Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg, Russia. 


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