Orthodox of the world celebrate Christmas

Orthodox Christians over the world are celebrating Christmas on January 7, 2016, according to the Julian calendar. Communities from Europe to the Middle East are celebrating the day, each with their own unique traditions, almost two weeks after the most western celebrations.

In Egypt, where orthodox make up around 90% of Egyptian Christians, they break their 43-day fast and celebrate in church masses led by Pope Tawadros II, joined by the president Al-Sisi, who became the first Egyptian president to attend the Coptic Christmas mass.

In Russia, authorities estimated 350,000 taking place in the Christmas celebrations in the capital alone. Other countries like Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria and others celebrated with fireworks displays, traditional log burning and other ceremonies.

In Bulgaria, Bulgarians sing and dance in the icy waters of the Tundzha river, as they celebrate Epiphany day in the town of Kalofer, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Traditionally, an Eastern Orthodox priest throws a cross in the river and it is believed that the one who retrieves it will be healthy through the year. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

In Bulgaria, Bulgarians sing and dance in the icy waters of the Tundzha river, as they celebrate Epiphany day in the town of Kalofer. Traditionally, an Eastern Orthodox priest throws a cross in the river and it is believed that the one who retrieves it will be healthy through the year. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

 

In Greece, an Orthodox priest holds a cross as he is accompanied by a guard of honor during an Epiphany ceremony to bless the water in Mytilene port on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos. Similar ceremonies to mark Epiphany Day were held across Greece at the sea, rivers, lakes and dams.  (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

In Greece, an Orthodox priest holds a cross as he is accompanied by a guard of honor during an Epiphany ceremony to bless the water in Mytilene port on the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos. Similar ceremonies to mark Epiphany Day were held across Greece at the sea, rivers, lakes and dams. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)

 

In Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, center, during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul. The traditional Epiphany ceremony marks the Epithany in Istanbul when Bartholomew I or an Orthodox priest throws a simple wooden cross into the water to bless the water at the Golden Horn and swimmers race to be the first to retrieve it. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

In Turkey, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, center, during an Epiphany ceremony at the Patriarchate in Istanbul. The traditional Epiphany ceremony marks the Epithany in Istanbul when Bartholomew I or an Orthodox priest throws a simple wooden cross into the water to bless the water at the Golden Horn and swimmers race to be the first to retrieve it. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

 

In Ukraine, people light candles in a church to mark the Orthodox Christmas in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

In Ukraine, people light candles in a church to mark the Orthodox Christmas in the St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

 

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) speaks during the Coptic Orthodox Christmas Eve mass hosted by Pope Tawadros II (L) in St. Mark church in Cairo, Egypt. (Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue)

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (C) speaks during the Coptic Orthodox Christmas Eve mass hosted by Pope Tawadros II (L) in St. Mark church in Cairo, Egypt. (Xinhua/Pan Chaoyue)

 

In Egypt, Christians take part in the Coptic Orthodox Christmas Eve mass in St. Mark church in Cairo.(Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

In Egypt, Christians take part in the Coptic Orthodox Christmas Eve mass in St. Mark church in Cairo.(Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, attends midnight Orthodox Christmas Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo. Russian news reports said the church was where his parents had been baptized. The Russian Orthodox Church observes Christmas on Jan. 7 as it retained the Julian calendar. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik,  Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, attends midnight Orthodox Christmas Mass in a church in the village of Turginovo. Russian news reports said the church was where his parents had been baptized. The Russian Orthodox Church observes Christmas on Jan. 7 as it retained the Julian calendar. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

 

In Belarus, people light candles ahead of the Orthodox Christmas service in Minsk. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

In Belarus, people light candles ahead of the Orthodox Christmas service in Minsk. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

 

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