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Look: Ukrainians in Donbas celebrate Orthodox Christmas

origin 1Orthodox Christmas is celebrated in January, as it still uses the Julian calendar date for celebration ©سمير الدومي/أ ف ب

In the frontline town of Kostyantynivka in the Donetsk region, dozens of worshipers attended a service on Friday to mark the Orthodox Christmas Eve.

The service was held in the basement of the church, where the lower temple is located. All the windows around the church were protected with sandbags due to the proximity to the front lines.

The service was held in an uneasy calm after a Russian declaration of an Orthodox Christmas ceasefire came into effect. Ukrainian and Western officials scorned the truce as a ploy.

One of the participants, who only gave his name as Volodymyr, said Kostyantynivka was constantly under attack. “Therefore, let us pray for peace, for an end to bloodshed,” Volodymyr said.

Elsewhere, monks were preparing for Christmas at the Sviatohirsk cave monastery, also in the Donetsk region, which had been targeted since the start of the full-scale war and had been under Russian occupation for more than three months.

During this period the monastery became a refuge for hundreds of people, especially those who lost their homes in the fighting.

In the main temple of the monastery, which is under the Moscow Patriarchate, a Christmas tree and a nativity scene were set up for the Orthodox Christmas.

But the holes in the walls and the graves of the monks who died during the bombing of the monastery are a constant reminder of the fighting that took place in the spring and summer.

Click on the video above to see more.