See the extended post for photos of a Russian Orthodox priest consecrating Easter cakes and eggs in the small town of Naro-Fominsk 45 miles outside of Moscow. In the extended post, you will also see photos of Russian leaders attending the Easter night service in Moscow, which was aired on national television.
Easter preparations at a local military base
Naro-Fominsk was severely damaged by the German Army during World War II, and the town's church was transformed by the Soviet government into a Museum to the Glory of the Communist Revolution. After the collapse of the USSR, the church was restored, and the museum's T-34 tank was left behind to honor the memory of the Russian soldiers who died defending the town.
Locals lighting candles
Locals waiting for consecration of their Easter treats...
Babushkas and children with parents standing next to each other...
While babushkas bake their own Easter cakes (or kuhlich - click to see the recipe), young families buy the store-cakes; this year you could get one for between 30 and 80 rubles (approximately $1 to $3 U.S.)...
...finally, here comes the Russian Orthodox priest.
Feelings of community and Christian fellowship are growing in Russia, and here you can see a kid happy to see the head of the local church.
In the evening Russian families either go to church for a long, all-night service, or gather around their TVs to watch the service from the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. It is a new post-Soviet tradition for the Russian nation's leaders to be present at this important service. In the pictures below you can see screen-shots of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov and Russian President Vladimir Putin attending the service.