Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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Alexii II gives televised Christmas message

MOSCOW. Jan 7 (Interfax) - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexii II has expressed his profound regret over the continuing conflict in the Holy Land.

In his televised Christmas message to Russians on Tuesday, the patriarch said that "the confrontation is still raging in the Savior's homeland, near the greatest Christian sanctuaries."

Alexii II noted that the Church is also concerned about last year's terrorist attacks in Russia and other countries, which put "the world in front of a threat posed by evil never seen before."

"The spiritual experience of humankind shows that common grief brings people closer, uniting them in the fight against evil. But while joining our forces in this struggle, let us remember the Savior's words, that ill intentions originate in human hearts. Therefore, let us strive to create the 'peaceful spirit' mentioned by the Venerable Serafim Sarovsky," the patriarch said.

He recalled that "today God expects spiritual gifts from us," which "He will accept if we try to reconcile with those we have hurt, remember those who we have forgotten because of being busy, share the joy of Christmas with people surrounding us and bear in mind that our way to God lies through our relations with other people."

His Holiness wished the Russians peace, creativity and success in 2003.

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