[Putin] Merry Christmas greetings

File Photo of Vladimir Putin Speaking with Flag Behind Him and Microphones in Front

(Kremlin.ru – January 7, 2013)

Vladimir Putin wished Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens a Merry Christmas.

The message reads, in part:

“Over the centuries this holiday has brought us the light of faith, hope and love. It unites us around traditional moral values that play a special role in Russian history and are the backbone of our society. Christmas is the time of charity and mercy, sincere attention to those who need our help and care.

“Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian denominations play an active role in the nation’s life. Their interaction with state agencies and public organisations is expanding, the inter-religious dialogue is developing and more attention is being paid to community ministry, educational initiatives, youth education and family support. These prolific and multifaceted efforts deserve deep appreciation and respect.”

On Christmas night, Vladimir Putin attended a Christmas service held in the three-altar church of the icons of Theotokos of Peschansk and Theotokos of Vladimir at the Holy Trinity and St. George Convent in Sochi.