Moscow’s most secure cathedral ordered to start midnight Orthodox service so Putin can worship alone


Russia’s most secure cathedral was ordered to stage a midnight Orthodox Christmas service so Vladimir Putin could worship all alone.

The Moscow despot is seen crossing himself and shuffling uneasily during a ceremony in a place of worship where traditionally tsars confessed their sins in the Kremlin.

As war rages in Russian-occupied Ukraine – despite his unilateral ceasefire – it was the first time since he came to power 23 years ago that he had chosen the sacred Cathedral of the Annunciation for the festive service.

The fear of assassination linked to the war may have led to lonely Putin avoiding his usual appearance at a crowded midnight gathering in locations outside the capital.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Putin is seen crossing himself and shuffling uneasily during a ceremony in a place of worship where traditionally tsars confessed their sins, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Putin is seen crossing himself and shuffling uneasily during a ceremony in a place of worship where traditionally tsars confessed their sins, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

During the service, a presidential armed bodyguard fleetingly appears eyeing the ruler who has seen more than 100,000 Russian troops killed in a bloody war scarring Europe that he launched ten months ago.

The dour, joyless mood in an ancient cathedral repaired by paranoid and bloodthirsty tsar Ivan the Terrible contrasted with Putin’s official Christmas message which said: ‘This bright, beloved holiday inspires people to good deeds and aspirations, serves to affirm in society such enduring spiritual values and moral guidelines as mercy, compassion, goodness and justice.’

In previous years – in 2018 and 2019 – he had been amid other midnight worshipers in his home city of St Petersburg at, respectively, the Church of Simeon and Anna and the Cathedral of the Transfiguration.

It is unusual for Putin to meet Orthodox Christmas in Moscow city – the last time was more than two decades ago in 2001.

Putin was also alone last year, at his official residence outside the capital, Novo-Ogaryovo, at a time he was taking extreme precautions due to the pandemic.

In 2021, he attended a service at the Church of St. Nicholas on Lipno Island near Veliky Novgorod, northwest of Moscow.

It was the first time since he came to power 23 years ago that Putin had chosen the sacred Cathedral of the Annunciation for the festive service, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

It was the first time since he came to power 23 years ago that Putin had chosen the sacred Cathedral of the Annunciation for the festive service, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

During the service, a presidential armed bodyguard fleetingly appears eyeing the ruler, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

During the service, a presidential armed bodyguard fleetingly appears eyeing the ruler, the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

The Cathedral of the Annunciation is inside the walls of the Kremlin fortress and seen as totally secure.

While 70-year-old Putin is believed to have a young family with lover Alina Kabaeva, 39, a former Olympic gold-medal winning rhythmic gymnast, Russians are not permitted to know of their existence, and he is never seen with them even at Christmas.

Procurator Telegram channel reported: ‘The most tear-jerking – and in fact telling – video on this [Orthodox] Christmas morning is a lonely Vladimir Putin in the Cathedral of the Annunciation in the Moscow Kremlin.

‘We wish our subscribers to be close to their loved ones and like-minded people on this bright Orthodox holiday.

‘And, of course, a peaceful sky and freedom.’

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 06 January 2023

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, 06 January 2023

Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Vladimir Putin attends a Christmas service at the Annunciation Cathedral in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, January 6, 2023

Putin’s singular appearance praying alone comes as he is widely rumoured to be ready to announce a new mass mobilisation of Russians, with some estimates suggesting he could call up 500,000 or even one million.

Another fear is that he will imminently impose exit controls to block military age Russians from fleeing the country, as they did immediately after his September 2022 draft.

One sick Russian comment read: ‘Our Vladimir the Great. A true patriot and a believer. Look, Ukrainians – the one who will finally drive your pigsty into the Stone Age. He’s sad because not all Ukrainians are dead yet.’

Others suggested he was wearing a bullet proof vest and put his lonely vigil down to his fear of assassination – even from his own security service.

‘He feels people’s love so much that he’s afraid of approaching them,’ said one comment.

Another mocked Putin, saying : ‘What a crowd, how did they all fit in?

‘Is he already afraid of the FSB, too?’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk