Saturday, January 07, 2006

The other Christmas

From Rome:

Vatican, Jan. 06 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) sent his greetings to the Orthodox churches that were celebrating Christmas, during his Angelus audience on January 6.

As the Vatican celebrated the feast of the Epiphany, the Holy Father called attention to the Eastern churches that continue to follow the old Julian calendar. Speaking to a crowd of about 50,000 from the window of his apartment in the apostolic palace, the Pontiff sent his Christmas greetings to those Eastern churches.

"Now, I cannot hear those words without returning in spirit to that memorable event, which represented a true epiphany," the Pope said, referring to World Youth Day. "Today I am happy to extend to the whole Church the message that I offered to the young people gathered on the banks of the Rhine: 'Open your heart wide to God!'"

Read the complete article Pope sends best wishes to Eastern churches celebrating Christmas from Catholic World News. The bolding is mine.

From Moscow:

Moscow (AsiaNews) – Follow Christ and do not be slaves of idols imposed by the modern world. Such was the invitation extended to Alexei II to 5,000 faithful gathered yesterday evening in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow for the Christmas vigil. During the celebration, the Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias exhorted those present to commit themselves to “good actions: try to share the joy of Christmas with those around you, especially those who are alone. Let this joy follow you in your life and give you the strength to overcome trials and tribulations”.

The Patriarch addressed many political figures including the Prime Minister, Mikhail Fradkov, and religious personalities, like the Nuncio in Russia, Mgr Antonio Mennini. In his message of greetings to Alexei II, the President Vladimir Putin – who was visiting Yakutskha in Siberia yesterday – thanked the Orthodox Church for “its contribution to promoting peace, agreement and mutual understanding in society”.

Alexei II launched an appeal to members of the congregation to follow Christ, the source of “true good” and not to allow themselves to “be enslaved by idols of power, glory and pleasure imposed by the world around”.

Read the complete article Orthodox Christmas, Alexei II: follow Christ to be truly free from

Combined message:
Open your heart to Christ and then follow Him where He leads you.

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