С Рождеством Христовым! Merry Christmas! The Evil One attended midnight mass at a newly built Orthodox cathedral in Sochi. See: Рождество Христово and here: Orthodox Christians mark Christmas I must say that I like Orthodox Church services from a purely a historical and cultural perspective. I think the orthodox liturgy is about as close as one can get to how it was done in early Christian times because of the very fact that it is Eastern; although Judea was a protectorate of the Roman Empire, it was still very much part of the Hellenic world, hence the the orthodox service of Byzantium and thence to the Russian Orthodox liturgy of the the Third Rome gives us, I think, a closer link to what they did in ancient times. In fact, that’s what “orthodox” means, the word having arrived in the English tongue through church Latin from the Greek “orthodoxia” (ορθοδοξία): “right opinion/belief”. It’s the singing that I like best, and the prayers that are chanted out in Church Slavonic. However, like the proverbial curate’s egg, Russian Orthodox services for me are only good in parts: they are much longer than most Western services are, be they Catholic or Protestant, and its standing room only. Last night, for example, the Christmas vigil service would have begun at about 11 p.m. and ended about 4 hours later. See: Russian Orthodox Christmas I’ve done it once, in London as a matter of fact, and once was enough! The Easter vigil is just as bad: I’ve done that as well, but here, and again – only once.