Putin goes to church on Christmas Eve


Interfax-Religiia, 7 January 2019


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived at the Savior Transfiguration cathedral of St. Petersbug in order to attend the Christmas worship service.


The service was conducted by the rector of the cathedral, Archpriest Nikolai Bryndin. The church was filled with parishioners, with many children among them. The presidential envoy of the Northwestern federal district, Alexander Gupan, and the acting governor of St. Petersburg, Alexander Beglov, also attended the holiday service.


On the occasion of the holiday, the president presented the icon "Lord Almighty" to the rector.


V. Putin also marked Christmas in 2012 in the Savior Transfiguration cathedral, when he was the prime minister. At the time the president told journalists that in infancy he was baptized in this church.


The cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Lord of the entire guard in St. Petersburg was built by architect Vasily Stasov in 1828 on Transfiguration Square, where in the 1730s the courtyard of the grenadier company of this regiment was located. The church was never closed for services, although, like all parishes of the country, it was seriously damaged in the 1920s.


The cathedral is connected with the history of the Russian army. The square around the church is circled by a fence, at the bases of which are located 102 bronze gun barrels that were seized in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 from the walls of Turkish fortresses. Inside the cathedral, as the chief church of the whole guard, were located numerous regimental banners and other trophies captured from the Turks. Behind glass in special cabinets were preserved uniforms of Alexander I, Nicholas I, and Alexander II, and also a sword, which was on Alexander II on 1 March 1891 during the attack by People's Will member Ignaty Grinevitsky and drops of the emperor's blood were preserved.


In 1918 the cathedral became a parish church, and the banners, weapons, and military trophies were seized and transferred to the Artillery Museum. Since 1950 they have been in the Hermitage.


V. Putin regularly visits churches during principal church holidays. Whereas on Easter he often is in Moscow, in the church of Christ the Savior, he usually observes Christmas outside of the capital.


The head of state has stayed in Moscow on 7 January only twice: in 2001 he attended the service in the church of Christ the Savior and in 2000, V. Putin, who then was still acting president of the RF, was at the holiday service in the church of the Trinity on Sparrow Hills.


Last year the head of state observed Christmas in the church of the Holy and Righteous Simeon the God-bearer and Anna the Prophetess on Mokhovaia Street in St. Petersburg; in 2017, in the St. George monastery of Velikii Novgorod; and in 2016, in the church of the Protection of the Holy Mother of God in the village of Turginovo of Tver oblast, where his parents were baptized. He also went there on Christmas of 2011.


In other years V. Putin also attended Christmas services in churches in Sochi, St. Petersburg, in Selishche of Kostroma oblast, the village of Solomennoe in Karelia, and in Velikii Ustiug.


In 2006 V. Putin observed Christmas in one of the churches of Yakutsk, where at the time it was 50 degrees below zero. (tr. by PDS, posted 7 January 2019)

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