Moscow patriarch issues Christmas message
January 06, 2016
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church issued his Christmas message on January 5 as Orthodox Christians who follow the Julian calendar prepared to celebrate the feast day.
“In following Christ, the human person goes against the elements of this world,” wrote Patriarch Kirill of Moscow. “He does not submit to the temptations he encounters, and he determinedly tramples down the barriers of sin that stand in his way.”
“Indeed, it is sin that draws us away from God and genuinely renders our lives harsh,” he continued. “It is sin that, in eclipsing the light of the Divine love, plunges us into many and varied afflictions and hardens our heart towards other people. Sin, though, is vanquished only by the grace of the Holy Spirit, which is given to us through the Church.”
The patriarch, who leads the largest of the Eastern Orthodox churches, also prayed for peace in Ukraine.
“The fratricidal conflict which has arisen in the land of Ukraine should never divide the Church’s children by sowing enmity within peoples’ hearts,” he said. “The true Christian cannot hate his neighbors or those afar.”
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