The President’s message reads, in part:
“This wonderful holiday illuminates the world with a light of love and kindness, gives joy and hope to millions of people and guides them towards timeless spiritual values.
It is crucial that the Russian Orthodox Church as well as other Christian denominations constantly focus on the issues of the moral health of society, on strengthening the institution of the family and raising the younger generation, and that they sincerely care about maintaining inter-ethnic and inter-faith dialogue.”
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On Christmas Eve, the President attended mass at the Church of St Nicholas located on the island of Lipno, Lake Ilmen, eight kilometres from Veliky Novgorod.
The Church was built in 1292 by Archbishop Clement on the site where the miracle-working icon of St Nicholas of Myra was found. It is the oldest remaining church in Russia built after the Mongol invasion. The church has undergone several restorations including in 2017–2019. Now the landmark has been restored to its original form and is included in guided tours. The famous icon from the church St Nicholas of Lipno is showcased at the Novgorod Museum Reserve.
The President donated the icon of God the Almighty to the church. It was executed in tempera in the tradition of 19th century Mstera icon-painting. The icon-case, with a gilded frame, and the icon-setting were made in the workshops of the St Trinity Fellowship of the city of Shchigry.
Following Christmas mass, Vladimir Putin answered a journalist’s question.