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    PUTIN CONGRATULATES PATRIARCH ALEXY II ON CHRISTMAS

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    MOSCOW, January 6, 2004. /RIA Novosti/ -- On Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin sent Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II a Christmas greeting.

    The greeting, received by RIA Novosti from the President's press service, reads, "On these bright and happy days I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your efficient activities as head of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    The Church's comprehensive work to educate and teach charity and mercy, as well as to strengthen inter-region peace and public concord finds and will find understanding and support from the state."

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