Europe

Millions of Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter

  • Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends an Orthodox Easter service in St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko attends an Orthodox Easter service in St. Volodymyr Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ukrainian Orthodox faithful light candles from the Holy Fire brought from Jerusalem in St. Volodymyr Cathedral during the ceremony of the Holy Fire in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 15, 2017. The Holy Fire ceremony is part of Orthodox Easter rituals and the flame symbolizes the resurrection of Christ in a ceremony dating back to the 12th century. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Ukrainian Orthodox faithful light candles from the Holy Fire brought from Jerusalem in St. Volodymyr Cathedral during the ceremony of the Holy Fire in Kiev, Ukraine, Saturday, April 15, 2017. The Holy Fire ceremony is part of Orthodox Easter rituals and the flame symbolizes the resurrection of Christ in a ceremony dating back to the 12th century. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ukrainian Orthodox believers attend an Orthodox Easter service in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra church, also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, in the capital city of Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, April 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Ukrainian Orthodox believers attend an Orthodox Easter service in the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra church, also known as the Kiev Monastery of the Caves, in the capital city of Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, April 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)  (The Associated Press)

Millions of Orthodox Christians around the world have celebrated Easter in overnight services and "holy fire" from Jerusalem.

This year the Orthodox churches celebrate Easter on the same Sunday when Roman Catholics and Protestants mark the holy festival. The Western Christian church follows the Gregorian calendar, while the Eastern Orthodox uses the older Julian calendar. The two Easters are often weeks apart.

In predominantly Orthodox Romania, Patriarch Daniel urged Christians to bring joy to "orphans, the sick, the elderly the poor... and the lonely." Late Saturday, Orthodox cleric transported the holy light from Jerusalem by plane and it was then flown to other churches around the country.

There are Orthodox churches in Greece, Russia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Moldova and elsewhere.