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On the night of January 7, 2017, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, celebrated Divine liturgy at the Church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God, Bolshaya Ordynka street, Moscow.

Great Compline and Matins were celebrated in the evening of January 6. Clerics of the church concelebrated. Singing was the Moscow Synodal Choir conducted by an honoured artist of Russia Alexei Puzakov.

After the Litany of Fervent Supplication Metropolitan Hilarion offered up a prayer for peace in Ukraine.

Christmas message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics and all the Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church was read out by hegumen Filaret (Tambovsky), a cleric of the church.

After the Divine service Metropolitan Hilarion delivered a sermon, saying: “Dear reverend fathers, brothers and sisters, I wholeheartedly congratulate you on the feast of the Nativity of Christ!

“God became man in order to show us the way to the kingdom of God, grant us eternal life, and live among us and within us. When we receive him he lives in us, sanctifying us from within and illumining our life by his light.

“Let us follow the guiding star which led the Magi to the Infant Christ born in Bethlehem, the star lighted by the Lord for guiding us to his Heavenly Kingdom. Let us not swerve out of the way along which our Lord Jesus Christ leads us.

“Let the joy of the Nativity of Christ always abides in our hearts. Let us share this joy with our near and dear and bring it to the needy and afflicted people so that they can feel that God is with us! Amen.”

After the service, members of the “Ascent” youth club attached to the church congratulated Metropolitan Hilarion on the Nativity of Christ.