Moscow's most secure cathedral ordered to start midnight Orthodox service so ... trends now

Moscow's most secure cathedral ordered to start midnight Orthodox service so ... trends now
Moscow's most secure cathedral ordered to start midnight Orthodox service so ... trends now

Moscow's most secure cathedral ordered to start midnight Orthodox service so ... trends now

Russia's most secure cathedral was ordered to stage a midnight Orthodox Christmas service so Vladimir Putin could worship all alone.

The Moscow despot is seen crossing himself and shuffling uneasily during a ceremony in a place of worship where traditionally tsars confessed their sins in the Kremlin.

As war rages in Russian-occupied Ukraine - despite his unilateral ceasefire - it was the first time since he came to power 23 years ago that he had chosen the sacred Cathedral of the Annunciation for the festive service.

The fear of assassination linked to the war may have led to lonely Putin avoiding his usual appearance at a crowded midnight gathering in locations outside the capital.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Putin is seen crossing himself and shuffling uneasily during a ceremony in a place of worship where traditionally tsars confessed their sins, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Putin is seen crossing himself and shuffling uneasily during a ceremony in a place of worship where traditionally tsars confessed their sins, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

During the service, a presidential armed bodyguard fleetingly appears eyeing the ruler who has seen more than 100,000 Russian troops killed in a bloody war scarring Europe that he launched ten months ago.

The dour, joyless mood in an ancient cathedral repaired by paranoid and bloodthirsty tsar Ivan the Terrible contrasted with Putin's official Christmas message which said: 'This bright, beloved holiday inspires people to good deeds and aspirations, serves to affirm in society such enduring spiritual values and moral guidelines as mercy, compassion, goodness and justice.'

In previous years - in 2018 and 2019 - he had been amid other midnight worshipers in his home city of St Petersburg at, respectively, the Church of Simeon and Anna and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration.

It is unusual for Putin to meet Orthodox Christmas in Moscow city - the last time was more than two decades ago in 2001.

Putin was also alone last year, at his

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