The message reads, in part:
“On these festive Christmas days millions of people around the globe feel joy and inspiration, and a sense of following century-old traditions passed on from generation to generation. Their hearts are filled with love and a belief in the triumph of good and justice.
The Russian Orthodox Church and other Christian confessions in Russia play a highly constructive role in strengthening the moral and spiritual foundations of Russian society, preserving our nation’s historical and cultural heritage, and educating young people. This is a large-scale and fruitful effort of great significance that deserves the most profound recognition.
I wish prosperity and good health to all Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens celebrating Christmas.”
On Christmas Eve, the President of Russia attended a service at the Transfiguration Cathedral in St Petersburg conducted by its dean Nikolai Bryndin.
After the service Vladimir Putin addressed the believers: “I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! May you be happy and in good health! Happy holiday, and thank you very much.”
The President also had a conversation with the cathedral’s dean, whom he presented with the Icon of the Theotokos of Tikhvin. In turn, the President received the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan.
The cathedral’s cherished relics are the Icon of the Saviour “Not Made by Hands” and the Icon of the Theotokos “Joy of All Who Sorrow”.