Orthodox Christians around the globe are celebrating Easter today, with thousands lighting candles at services in their community.
In Istanbul, Turkey, people attend an Easter Resurrection Service at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate.
The Patriarchate is the centre of Greek Orthodox Christianity, which has a religious population of around 260 million people worldwide.
A service at the the Patriarchal Church of St. George was conducted by Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, regarded as the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians.
Orthodox worshippers light candles during an Easter Resurrection Service in Istanbul, Turkey
The service at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate is conducted by Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople
Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of Greek Orthodox world, officiates the Easter ceremony at the St. George Church
A woman lights a candle and places it in the sand during the service
Worshippers leave lit candles as part of the service, at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate
A woman wearing a headscarf stands illuminated by the candle she cradles, in a crowd in Istanbul
Crowds gather together with candles as they mark the religious day in the Julian calendar
Standing shoulder to shoulder, worshippers congregate for the Easter service
Based at the Church of Fener Orthodox Patriarchate, Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople conducts the service
IRAQ: Iraqi Orthodox Christians celebrating Easter Saturday light candles at the church of the ancient Mor Mattai Monastery in Bashiqa, some 30km northeast of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul
An evening celebration on Easter Saturday sees crowds gather at the ancient Mor Mattai Monastery in Bashiqa
Iraqi Orthodox Christians attend the Easter service in the village of Bashiqa, northeast Mosul
Hordes of people gather to celebrate Easter Saturday at the church of the ancient Mor Mattai Monastery
POLAND: Greek Catholic priests celebrate the Easter Sunday Mass at the Catholic Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Przemysl, southeastern Poland
Candles are lit at the Easter service at St John the Baptist in Przemysl, southeastern Poland
Metropolitan of Przemysl-Warsaw Greek Catholic Archbishop Eugeniusz Popowicz (R) celebrate the Easter Sunday Mass
Russia and Ukraine both marked Orthodox Easter today, with pictures showing Vladimir Putin in a Moscow church as his army’s missiles continued to rain down on Ukrainian civilians across the country.
The Russian strongman attended the midnight mass at the capital’s vast Christ the Saviour Cathedral, that sits close to the Kremlin.
Putin held a lit candle and when Patriarch Kirill – head of the Russian Orthodox Church – said ‘Christ has risen’, Putin joined other worshippers with the reply ‘Truly he is risen’.
Across the border, just 280 miles from Moscow, the same words were spoken by people in Ukraine as the embattled nation also marked Orthodox Easter, in some cases in the ruins of churches destroyed by Russian shells.
In the capital of Kyiv, prayers were held for those fighting on the front lines and others trapped beyond them in places like Mariupol.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed in an Easter message that no ‘wickedness’ will destroy the country and prayed that God returns happiness to children and brings solace to grieving mothers.
MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow, Russia
The service is led by Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church
Russian President Vladimir Putin (pictured in the background) and Moscow’s Mayor Sergei Sobyanin (to Putin’s right) attend Orthodox Easter mass led by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill (walking down the stairs) at the Christ The Saviour Cathedral
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill holds candles representing the Holly Light with during the service
Believers cross themselves during the Orthodox Easter service in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow
Worshippers attend the Orthodox Easter service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow
Priest Nikolai Gensitsky sprinkles holy water on traditional Easter cakes and eggs during the Orthodox Easter service in a church in the village of Yekaterininskoye in Omsk Region, Russia
Believers attend the Orthodox Easter service in a church in the village of Yekaterininskoye in Omsk Region, Russia
More Easter food baskets are blessed during the church service of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church community
A clergyman attends the Orthodox Easter service in a church in the village of Yekaterininskoye in Omsk Region, Russia
Choristers sing during the Orthodox Easter service in a church in the village of Yekaterininskoye in Omsk Region, Russia
Priest Nikolai Gensitsky blesses traditional Easter cakes and eggs during the Orthodox Easter celebrations in the village of Nagornoye in Omsk Region, Russia
In a video address from one of the country’s best known landmarks, the 1,000-year-old Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv, President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukraine will overcome the darkness that Russia’s invasion had brought upon it.
‘Today, we still believe in the new victory of Ukraine and we are all convinced that we will not be destroyed by any horde or wickedness,’ said Zelensky.
‘We are overcoming dark times and on this day I – and most of us – are not in bright clothes, but we are fighting for a luminous idea.’
Ukraine’s St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral – also in Kyiv – was ringed by hundreds of worshipers with baskets to be blessed.
KYIV: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses Ukrainian people with Orthodox Easter message, as Russia’s attack continues, at the Saint Sophia cathedral, April 23
A Ukrainian soldier lights candles at the Volodymysky Cathedral during Easter celebration in Kyiv, Ukraine
Worshippers receive a sanctification during an Orthodox Easter service in front of St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv
Standing outside St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv, attendees receive a sanctification as part of the Easter service
People attend a service at the Volodymysky Cathedral during Easter celebration in Kyiv, Ukraine
Worshippers light candles at the Saint Volodymyr’s Cathedral during Orthodox Eastern celebrations in Kyiv, Ukraine
Ukrainian believers attend an Orthodox Easter service at a church in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine amid the Russian invasion
An orthodox priest leads a procession as people gathe at the cathedral of the Holy Protection of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia
Worshippers light candles during the celebrations of orthodox easter day at the cathedral of the Holy Protection of the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia
A woman lights a candle during the celebrations in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine
Ukrainian believers attend an Orthodox Easter service at a church in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, amid the Russian invasion
Local residents walk after the Orthodox Easter service next to The Nativity of the Holy Virgin Church damaged by shelling during Russia’s invasion in the village of Peremoha, in Kyiv region, Ukraine
An Orthodox priest Oleksandr conducts the Orthodox Easter service at the remains of Trinity church in the village of Hostroluchchia, in Kyiv region
ITALY: Clergyman Eugenio Sagulin, from Kyiv, during the confession rite at an orthodox Easter service for Ukrainians, both residents and refugees, in Melzo, in the outskirts of Milan, Italy
An Ukrainian woman bows to kiss a representation of the death bed of Christ at a service in Melzo, in the outskirts of Milan, Italy
Ilia, 11, a refugee from Kamianets-Podilskyi, Western Ukraine, bows to kiss a representation of the death bed of Christ, during an orthodox Easter service for Ukrainians, both residents and refugees, in Melzo, in the outskirts of Milan, Italy
With the Orthodox church split by the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, some worshippers hoped the holy day could inspire gestures of peace-making.
‘The church can help,’ said one man who gave only his first name, Serhii, as he came to a church in Kyiv under the Moscow Patriarchate.
He and others brought baskets to be blessed by priests for Easter, with flicks of a brush sprinkling holy water over offerings of home-dyed eggs, lighted candles and even bottles of Jack Daniels.
Residents of rural villages battered by the war approached the holiday with some defiance.
‘We’ll celebrate Easter no matter what, no matter much horror,’ said Kateryna Lazarenko, 68, in the northern village of Ivanivka outside Chernihiv, where ruined Russian tanks still littered the roads.
‘How do I feel? Very nervous, everyone is nervous,’ said another resident, Olena Koptyl, as she prepared her Easter bread.
‘The Easter holiday doesn’t bring any joy. I’m crying a lot. We cannot forget how we lived.’
She and 12 others spent a month sheltering from Russian soldiers in the basement of her home before the soldiers withdrew.
Away from Kyiv, under the rain at a military position in the eastern town of Lyman, on the frontline, soldiers traded the usual patriotic salutation of ‘Glory to Ukraine!’ for the ritual ‘Christ has risen!’
‘Truly risen!’ came the reply.
UKRAINE: Worshipers stand next to their traditional cakes and painted eggs prepared for an Easter celebration during a religious service at a church in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, on Sunday
Olga Zhovtobrukh, 55, cries during an Easter religious service celebrated at a church in Bucha, on the outskirts of Kyiv, on Sunday
A female Ukrainian soldier crosses herself during an Orthodox Easter service in St. Volodymyr’s Cathedral in Kyiv on April 24, 2022
An Orthodox priest Oleksandr conducts the Orthodox Easter service at the remains of Trinity church in the village of Hostroluchchia, in Kyiv region, Ukraine