BISHKEK. The Orthodox Christian Church held festivities devoted to the birth of Jesus according to its calendar. There were religious ceremonies in Bishkek, Karakol and other cities and towns. About one million Kyrgyzstanis are Orthodox Christians, and they operate 43 churches in the country. Kyrgyzstan officially recognizes the holidays of Muslims and Orthodox Christians since the collapse of the Soviet Union's atheist regime. The Kyrgyz state remains secular and it is prohibited to establish any religious political party. There are 260 officially registered organizations of different confessions, including new religious sects.