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On 19 April, Palm Sunday, Archbishop Kyrill of Yaroslav and Rostov, leading a procession headed by the cross, crossed the main square of the Rostov Kremlin on horseback. This revives a custom dating back to time immemorial, when the local governor would present the hierarch with a white horse or ass, so that he could cross the square, while children placed small branches under the feet of the horse.

On 20 April, Great Monday and the first day of Passion Week, seminarists from Sretensky Monastery Seminary in Moscow began giving out 400,000 free copies of the shortest Gospel, the Gospel according to St Mark, to passengers in the Moscow underground. The Gospel has a short introduction and is richly illustrated with photos of the Holy Land and iconographic pictures. ‘I can say from personal experience that so far I have not had a single negative reaction’, said one of the participants and its organiser, Vladislav Pavlushenko. He chose St Mark’s Gospel, since it was written for unbelievers, pagans and the newly baptised. Sixty seminarists are taking part in the operation, which began in Great Monday and will last all week. They are doing so with the blessing of His Holiness Patriarch Alexis and the authorisation of the Moscow Underground. They hope to give out 400,000 copies this week, but two million copies have been printed altogether.

On 23 April, Great Wednesday in Passion Week, Archbishop Vikenty of Ekaterinburg and Verkhoturie will perform a mass baptism at the Church-on-the-Blood, the scene of the massacre of the Imperial Family ninety years ago. Baptism at Easter is one of the most ancient Christian customs, enabling new brothers and sisters in Christ to share in the Paschal joy. Those to be baptised began preparing for this day long before the beginning of Lent. They have been through a course of catechism and have learned the basic prayers, know the commandments of the Old and New Testaments and the Orthodox teaching of the Holy Trinity and understand the layout of an Orthodox church. The newly baptised will take communion for the first time on Great Thursday, the anniversary of the first Eucharist, the Last Supper.

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