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Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

Medvedev congratulates all Orthodox believers, Russians with Christmas

Portion of Russian Orthodox Congregation and CandlesMOSCOW, January 7 (RIA Novosti)-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated all Orthodox believers and all Russians with Christmas, the Kremlin said.

The Russian, Jerusalem, Serbian and Georgian Orthodox churches, Athos monasteries, some Catholics and some Protestants celebrate Christmas on January 7 in line with the Julian calendar, while Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans and some Orthodox churches celebrate the feast on December 25.

"The Christmas brings us to the timeless values of love and kindness," the president said. "They have been serving through centuries to strengthen moral values and unity of Russian people," Medvedev added. "And at all times, [they] helped Russia to pass any test, save our land peace and harmony," he continued.

"These values and in the modern days are a foundation for our society for peaceful and constructive life and further development of Russia," Medvedev said.

"Let Christmas give everyone confidence, give joy and hope," the president wished.

Russian Orthodox believers flocked to churches on Friday to attend Christmas service.

At least 14,000 people attended Christmas service in Moscow alone, a police spokesman said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev attended the Divine Liturgy at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior along with his wife and exchanged Christmas gifts with the Patriarch.

Medvedev also sent a Christmas greeting to the nation via his Twitter account.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attended Christmas service in the Central Russian village of Turginovo north of Moscow, in the Tver Region where his parents came from.

Christmas services will continue until Friday evening, and Church leaders will deliver their congratulations after the Great Vespers, to begin at 16:00 Moscow time [13:00 GMT].

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