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His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia sent Christmas greeting to the heads of the non-Orthodox Churches, including Pope Francis, Patriarch Mar Ignatius Aphrem II of the Syriac Church, Catholicos-Patriarch Mar Gewargis III Sliwa of the Assyrian Church of the East, Patriarch Bechara Butros Cardinal al-Rai of the Maronite Church, Metropolitan Baselios Marthoma Paulose II, Catholic of the East.

The greeting reads as follows:

I cordially greet you with the great feast of the Nativity of Christ.

Our hearts tremble on hearing the joyous news of the newborn Infant God proclaimed by an angel to the shepherds in Bethlehem over two thousand years ago. Hope for salvation which the Lord has “prepared in the presence of all people” (Lk 2:31) gives strength to Christians for fulfilling the commandments of the Gospel, inspires them for doing good and helps to overcome difficulties and trials.

Let praise the Lord for the ineffable love He has revealed to humanity through His Son, for” the Life which destroys the fear of mortality and brings to us the joy of promised eternity (St. Leo the Great, Homily I on the Nativity of Christ).

I wish you strength and generous God’s aid in your noble ministry.

With love in Christ,