The message of greetings reads, in part:
“This holiday brings joy and awakens pure thoughts. It unites us around ideals of goodness, love and mercy. These eternal values have a special significance for Russia, serving for centuries as a spiritual foundation for our society.
It is very important that today the Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian confessions in Russia carry on the traditions of responsible service, helping people to find faith and giving them strength along the way. They take a constructive part in bringing up the younger generation, strengthening the institution of the family, motherhood and childhood. They are doing a lot to maintain harmony in relations between people of different ethnic groups and religions. This great work deserves sincere respect.
I would like to wish happiness, peace and success in their good deeds to all Orthodox Christians and all Russians who celebrate Christmas today.”
The Russian President attended Christmas mass at the Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin in the village of Turginovo in Tver Region together with students of the religious educational centre that was opened at the church.
After Christmas mass, Vladimir Putin visited the educational centre, complete with a gym, swimming pool, crafts room and monastery canteen.