Orthodox Christians celebrate Orthodox Christmas, a holiday overshadowed by the conflict in Ukraine. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill presided over services at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. A day earlier, he called for a 36-hour ceasefire on the Ukrainian front, to which President Vladimir Putin agreed. Uncertain truce not respected and interpreted by the Ukrainian authorities as a stratagem to allow the Russian forces to regroup.
Ukrainians celebrated Christmas Eve Orthodox Mass on Friday in Bucha, a martyred city that suffered widespread abuse when Russian troops occupied it at the start of the war.
In Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, another war-torn land, Orthodox Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus, attended by Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, at the Basilica of the Nativity where, according to Christian tradition, Jesus is believed to have been born of Nazareth.