MOSCOW, January 7. /TASS/. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia on Orthodox Christmas celebrated according to the Julian calendar on Sunday.
"This holiday returns us to the origins of the Christian faith, gives us hope and support in life. It helps us to understand the greatest meaning of the event that occurred in Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago and its eternal meaning for us, modern people," says the congratulatory telegram published on the government’s website.
"And we also love the Christmas holiday for a special atmosphere and always celebrate it with joyful feelings. We believe that this year will bring us peace and happiness, and fill our life with warmth and love. During these holy days everyone is sincerely trying to do good, take care about and pay attention to the relatives and friends, and support unfamiliar people. It is important to always keep this mood, mercy and sympathy," Medvedev said.
Orthodox Christians in Russia and other countries celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar on January 7, two weeks after most western Christian churches that use the Gregorian calendar. The Russian Orthodox Church today has more than 30,000 churches and 900 monasteries in almost 70 countries. Religious services are conducted during the night and in the morning in all Orthodox churches on all continents.