MOSCOW, January 6. /TASS/. Ahead of Russian Orthodox Christmas (celebrated on January 7), Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has called for the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ to be revered with good deeds, he said in his Saturday’s homily after the morning prayer in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow.
"In order to venerate this God’s miracle given to us in the birth of His Only Begotten Son, we should respond with capacity to not just understand what He (Jesus Christ - TASS) brought to people, but with sincere belief and good deeds as well," the patriarch noted.
Saturday is Christmas Eve for the Russian Orthodox believers when they end the 40-day Nativity Fast and prepare for Orthodox Christmas, the second most important holiday after Easter. Patriarch Kirill will start the Christmas service in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior one hour before midnight.
In the morning and afternoon of January 7, the patriarch will visit a Moscow social institution and congratulate children at the charity patriarchal Christmas children’s show.
Many Orthodox church-goers make traditional charitable actions ahead of Christmas: collect gifts and visit hospital patients, orphan asylums, as well as elderly congregation members who live alone. The Orthodox volunteer movement dubbed "The Kursk Railway Station. Homeless, Children" gathers everyone interested and holds charity actions during the New Year holidays at Moscow’s railway stations to feed the homeless.
Mercy, the largest Orthodox charity organization, collected more than 20,000 gifts for those it supports, from expensive medical equipment down to small souvenirs and treats for hospital patients. The help is targeted: wishes of people in need were posted on a special website, so that benefactors could buy the needed things. The Mercy staff members and volunteers take gifts to all those targeted to congratulate them on the New Year and Christmas.