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Patriarch Kirill calls on Orthodox Christians to exercise compassion

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Washington: Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill has delivered a Christmas address, calling on Orthodox Christians to be compassionate and kind and thanking all those who have been offering support to the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Christmas Day on January 7. The Patriarch held the Orthodox Midnight Mass at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow.

Ahead of the liturgy, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill called on people to exercise compassion, to help and support those in need.

“We deeply sympathize with all those who lost their homes and were forced to leave the [Ukraine] conflict zone, move to safer places,” the Patriarch said in his Christmas address, thanking all those who have been helping the wounded.

Patriarch Kirill said attempts to destroy the canonical Orthodox church in Ukraine were “pathetic.”

Earlier, Patriarch Kirill proposed a 36-hour ceasefire starting Friday noon (9:00 GMT) to mark Orthodox Christmas. Russian President Vladimir Putin backed the proposal and ordered a 36-hour Christmas truce between January 6-7 along the entire line of contact.

Olexiy Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, rejected the truce offer on Thursday. Washington and Berlin also rejected the offer. US President Joe Biden suggested that Putin was “trying to find some oxygen,” while German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock argued that a truce would bring “neither freedom nor security.”

Meanwhile, the UN secretary general’s spokesman has said that Antonio Guterres would welcome a pause in fighting between Ukrainians and Russians during the holy period.

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