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MOSCOW, January 6 (Itar-Tass) – Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia Kirill I has issued an annual Christmas Epistle to the hierarchs, cloisterers, clerics, and lay of the Russian Orthodox Church, which marks Christmas under the ‘old-style’ Julian Calendar January 7 together with a number of other Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches.
“God is born in flesh to bestow His love on the people and to help every person willing to heed His call to grasp the fullness of being,” the Epistle says.
“And even if man happens to lose all the supports in life and everything suddenly seems unsteady and hopeless, we should recognize God’s capability to transform pain, suffering and misery of our world into beatitudes, joy and abundance of spiritual gifts with His gratifying power,” Kirill I says.
He recalls that the past year was marked by many complexities for Russia and for other countries located on the territory of the historical Rus.
The main problems lurk in the spiritual, not the material, sphere and “it’s very important to learn how to identify the conceits and phantoms of earthly well-being in our baleful afflictions, petty self-serving stratagems, the lures of advertising, and political texts,” Kirill I warns.
He calls on the Eastern Orthodox community “to heed the voice of one’s own consciousness that alerts us to the dangers posed by sin and to develop the knowledge of how to coordinate one’s actions with the commandments of the Gospel.”
Kirill I calls on the believers to display solidarity with the Christians, who are being subjected to purges “in the countries where the events of scriptural history have taken place in the past”, and to support with prayers in the bright days of Christmas “the brethren in faith, the guardians of invaluable shrines, and inheritors of the fundamental Christian tradition.”