Eastern Christians Greeted for Christmas

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II greeted Christians of the Eastern Churches who were preparing to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

The Russian Orthodox Church is the largest among the Eastern Churches celebrating Christmas on Wednesday.

Following today’s recitation of the Angelus with some 20,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope greeted the “brothers and sisters of the Eastern Churches,” assuring them of his “constant remembrance in prayer.”

Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II sent greetings to John Paul II on the occasion of the West’s Christmas, “an event which has filled with joy the hearts of Christians in the world during more than two thousand years,” the message stated.

“From the depth of my heart I wish His Holiness a Happy Christmas,” the patriarch said in his message, also sent to the leaders of the other Christian communities that celebrated Christmas on Dec. 25. “May our Lord Jesus Christ give him strength of spirit and body.”

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