Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered greetings to Orthodox Christians and all Russians on Christmas celebrated according to the Julian calendar on January 7.
A Kremlin press service statement quoted Putin as saying that Christmas “gives millions of believers joy and hope.”
Putin said the holiday accustoms Orthodox Christians to “spiritual origins and fatherly traditions, and unites them around eternal Christian values” and the “centuries-old historic and cultural heritage of our people.”
He also said that the Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations have “made a significant contribution to strengthening high moral ideals in society, educating the growing generation, and solving vital social problems.”
Putin attended Orthodox Christmas services at the Church of saints Simeon and Ann in St. Petersburg as the clock turned to January 7.
Meanwhile, Russian state television channels showed a live broadcast of the Christmas Eve midnight Mass from Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral.
Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill conducted the ceremonies at the Moscow site before hundreds of worshippers, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as well as several other Russian government and parliamentary officials.
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