Metropolitan Kirill congratulates believers on Orthodox Christmas

On the Eve of Orthodox Christmas, interim head of the Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad congratulated Orthodox Christians.

"Today we recall how the Son of God came down to people so that each one of us could rejoin Him. But to allow this to happen, there must be a response on our part, response worthy of divine love - our own love, active and sacrificial," the Metropolitan said in his Christmas message to believers.

The life of the deceased Patriarch Alexy II was an example of such love, the message says.

Metropolitan Kirill praised the late Patriarch's relentless efforts aimed at preserving the unity of Church despite attempts to sow split and trouble.

"The demise of the Holy Patriarch Alexy ends an important period in the history of our Church, which coincided with deep social changes. We are now living in an entirely different society that bears no resemblance to the times of imposed atheism", the message says.

At the same time, the Patriarchal Locum Tenens acknowledged that Orthodox Christians in Russia are now facing new problems, mostly of social and economic nature.

Many are losing their jobs and sustaining "material losses, the message says.

"The Church embraces with compassion all who are finding it hard to carry on. May God give strength and wisdom to all - rulers, entrepreneurs and ordinary workers - so that our common and coordinated efforts, mutual support and the search for correct decisions could help us surmount the current difficulties, preserve ourselves and our loved ones and maintain peace and harmony in our society," the message says.

Metropolitan Kirill urged believers ahead of the Local Council and the election of a new Patriarch to remember that "only love creates real unity".

"Only if there is no room left for enmity, envy or rivalry in our souls and our hearts are open to love and unity will God's blessings descend upon us, healing our ailments and filling us with strength," the message says.

Source: Interfax religion