Holiday address of Russian Orthodox leader

The head of Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, held a Christmas speech to the flock after the end of the celebratory service in Russia's main Cathedral, Christ the Savior in Moscow.

In his address, Russia's spiritual leader emphasized the significance of the true belief and called the followers to unite in the days of fair holiday.

Read the full speech of Patriarch Kirill

"Dear viewers, dear brothers and sisters, I heartily wish you all the best on the fair holiday of the Birth of Christ. Through this event, which was extremely significant for the whole of mankind, the divine truth came into the world. It delivered mankind from the deep crisis it found itself in. At that time people weren’t just facing economic, political and social difficulties, as has often happened throughout history, and as has partially been happening in our day too.

At that time the Great Roman civilization, having reached the peak of its external power and cultural development, suddenly found itself in a spiritual and moral deadlock. People were looking for the supreme meaning of life and the supreme predestination of their living. But they were failing to find this. No one had the answer. Politicians were silent about it, as were state authorities and philosophers, and bearers of secret knowledge who appeared to have access to all mysteries. And then the answer was sent from above, as a divine revelation.

This revelation, this new law of divine love, was brought down to Earth and granted to all mankind by the Son of God, who was born in poverty, in a miserable cavern where shepherds were sheltering their cattle from the cold winter weather. Such was the arrival of the One who proclaimed the supreme meaning of life, who took our sins and infirmities upon himself, who suffered for each one of us at Calvary. And by his resurrection from the dead, He opened the way for us into blissful eternity.

The event of Christ’s Nativity, which was free of any outward luster or authority and remote from political upheaval and social disturbance, brought a great transforming power, the divine grace, into this world. The system of spiritual and moral coordinates fundamentally changed under its influence.

People started perceiving God, themselves and each other in a different way. In the light of Christ’s gospel, one’s attitude to one’s neighbors, to those around one, to those passing by, became the key criterion of spiritual perfection. Relationships between parents and children, between men and women, changed. Institutional settings incompatible with Christianity became a thing of the past. Suffice it to remember the Gladiator combats. Vices that had been considered normal during the pre-Christian era were condemned. A new civilization based on the moral values proclaimed by the God incarnate was formed.

These values are infinitely precious to us as well. Let’s be faithful to them. The laws of moral living are unchangeable and indispensable. Historic facts and each person’s individual spiritual experience are an indisputable testimony to the fact that departure from the path of God’s truth leads to a tragic end. It’s always been either hatred, which is contrary to the laws of divine love, or sinful indifference and vicious thoughtlessness in deeds and actions that have been the cause of troubles.

The Savior born to the Virgin in a cavern granted us the truth, and the truth set us free in the choice between good and evil, between vice and virtue. The evil that often dwells in us and around us is, alas, a consequence of wrong choices. Let’s choose the truth, let’s choose love. Let’s do it today, on this special day, when our temples and our hearts and souls are filled with the angels’ doxology that announced the birth of God, the baby Jesus to people.

Glory be to God in the highest; on earth, peace; good will toward men. And let’s bring our faith, our dedication to the Gospel’s ideals, our Christian hope and our love to the manger of the newborn Son of God. Let’s forgive those close to us and distant from us for all hurts and transgressions. Let’s remember those we have forgotten in life’s daily routine, and wish them well on the day of this great triumph.

May God’s blessing remain with all of you. May all your good undertakings end in success. Peace and love be with you in your homes. Congratulations my dear friends, Happy Christmas!"