In the Russian Orthodox Church, Easter is celebrated for 40 days, with a special significance placed on the first week of services, called Bright Week.

Easter celebrations started on Sunday and will continue until May 27, says archpriest Alexei Kotar of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Seattle.

The church has been streaming services, following social-distancing measures enacted to slow the coronavirus outbreak.

After seven weeks of fasting for Lent, Kotar says, it has been “very hard” for parishioners to not come together for a communal meal after breaking fast and exchange the greeting of “Christ is risen” with the traditional three kisses. “It’s the holiday of holidays,” says Kotar.

He says many people at St. Nicholas are anticipating coming together again.

St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle is photographed during vespers on Monday. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle is photographed during vespers on Monday. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
In an empty church, Archpriest Alexei Kotar delivers online vespers as part of Eastertide services at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle on Monday. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
In an empty church, Archpriest Alexei Kotar delivers online vespers as part of Eastertide services at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle on Monday. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
Archpriest Alexei Kotar waves goodbye after praying online vespers as part of Eastertide services at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle on Monday. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)
Archpriest Alexei Kotar waves goodbye after praying online vespers as part of Eastertide services at St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Seattle on Monday. (Erika Schultz / The Seattle Times)