His Holiness Patriarch Kirill congratulates Emperor Akihito of Japan on his 80th birthday

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sent the following greeting to the Emperor Akihito of Japan with his 80th birthday:

His Imperial Majesty the Emperor Akihito of Japan

Your Majesty:

Please accept my heartfelt greetings with your 80th birthday.

You have dedicated your life to the service to Japan and its people. Largely thanks to your personal merits and work of the entire reigning dynasty, the country has become in the past years one of the most prosperous states of the world, in which a widely used modern technologies are combined with keeping the centuries-long traditions and customs.

A new dawn of hope

Christmas Message 2013 from the World Council of Churches general secretary

In New Testament accounts of the Nativity, humble shepherds watch their flocks by night while wise scholars, travelling in the east, look up at the same night’s sky and discern something new amid the rotation of stars. They were all open for a move, to see something, someone that brings hope for the world.

Orthodox Missionary Brotherhood in Africa celebrates its 50th Anniversary

 The Pope (Patriarch) Theodore II of Alexandria and All Africa has congratulated the Orthodox Missionary Brotherhood, which was founded in 1963, on its "golden" anniversary, thanking it for its self-sacrificing work that now embraces the whole continent.

First service in Sochi church built for the Olympics to be celebrated on Christmas

The Church complex of the Image of Christ the Savior "Made Without Hands" in Sochi is to be consecrated on January 3, reports Interfax-Religion.

According to the press service of the head of the Krasnodar territory, the first service in this Church will be celebrated on Christmas, reported its rector to the Krasnodar Territory governor Alexander Tkachev during the latter’s visit to the Church on Friday.

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences over the death of Nelson Mandela

His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia expressed his condolences to the South African President, Mr. Jacob Zuma, over the death of Nelson Mandela, a fighter against racial discrimination and the former president of the Republic of South Africa. The text of the message is given below.