ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS: MESSAGE OF PATRIARCH KIRILL, A PEOPLE WITH "A SINCERE FAITH"

"The past year in the life of the Church has been highlighted by many important events". In his Christmas message, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia takes stock of the past year. A little more than a year has passed since the death of Patriarch Alexy II, the historic leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, on 5 December 2008. A local Council of the Church was then convoked in Moscow to elect his successor and, on 27 January, the choice fell on Kirill himself, Alexy II’s right-hand man. "Fortified by the prayers and support of the episcopate, clergy and numerous flock, I placed my hopes in the Lord and accepted the lot of the Patriarchal ministry", said Patriarch Kirill in his Christmas message. Then he went on recalling the meetings, the visits and the voyages he made throughout the year to Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia and Azerbaijan. "I experienced – he said – the joy of prayerful communion" lived among people. Then he added: "everywhere I saw the radiant faces of people, the sincere expression of deep faith. This was a powerful spiritual experience for me and a visible testimony to the unity of Holy Russia, which through the strength of the faith of its multinational people is overcoming the restrictions of society". (continued)” ” ” ” ” “

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