Russian Buddhists celebrate new lunar year in Siberia

Braving freezing temperatures of around minus 40 degrees, Russian Buddhists kick off Lunar New Year celebration with prayers and wishes in the Siberian region of Buryatia near the Mongolian border. While the majority of Russia’s population identifies as Orthodox Christian, there are some 900,000 Buddhists living in the border region, as well as further west in the region of Kalmykia on the Caspian Sea. Buddhists, like other religious groups, suffered persecution from the Soviet authorities, but the post-Soviet years have seen a revival, with teachers of Tibetan Buddhism from other countries playing a major role.

Pakistan top court to rule on call for appeal against Asia Bibi

The fate of a Christian woman enmeshed in a years-long blasphemy row could finally be decided, when Pakistan’s Supreme Court will decide whether to allow an appeal against its decision to acquit Asia Bibi. IMAGES outside Supreme Court

Panama: Using VR to spread the gospel

Visitors to a theme park in Panama City enter a world of virtual reality where they can learn about the bible and Christian stories, a week before Pope Francis is expected to visit the country.

‘Serbian Knights’ plunge into icy river for Epiphany swim

Men from a Serbian knights organisation dive into Belgrade’s chilly Sava river to retrieve a wooden cross in a religious rite held on the eve of Epiphany, a Christian holiday marking the baptism of Jesus. The icy epiphany swim is a tradition held in many Orthodox Christian countries.

Hordes hoping for miracle throng Philippine Catholic procession

Throngs of Christian believers fling themselves at a historic statue of Jesus Christ as it inches through Manila for the annual Black Nazarene procession.

Christmas lunch, gifts, for Moscow’s poor and homeless

The Community of Sant’Egidio, an international Christian organisation particularly committed to helping people in difficulty, organises Christmas lunch in an Orthodox Church in downtown Moscow. Dozens of volunteers, mostly students, sit for a festive meal with Moscow’s poor and homeless.

Thousands of Islamists march in Jakarta ahead of elections

Around 100,000 people marched in Indonesia’s capital Sunday to mark two years since a demonstration that led to the fall of Jakarta’s Christian ex-governor, as presidential candidates seek to rally support ahead of next year’s general election.

Thousands of Islamists hold rally in Jakarta

Thousands of conservative Indonesian Muslims hold a peaceful rally to commemorate the second anniversary of a demonstration which led to the fall of Jakarta’s then Christian governor Basuki Thahaja Purnama. FIRST IMAGES