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    PRESIDENT PUTIN CONGRATULATES ALL ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS ON CHRISTMAS

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    MOSCOW, January 6, 2004. /RIA Novosti/ -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated all Orthodox Christians and followers of other Russian Christian confessions, celebrating Christmas on January 7th, on the holiday, RIA Novosti learned from the Kremlin press service.

    "I heartily wish you Merry Christmas, which is a happy and bright holiday that fills people's hearts with faith and hope, love and kindness," the greeting reads. "Activities of the Russian Orthodox Church and of other Christian confessions of our countries contribute to establishing high spiritual values, reinforcing moral principles in society. This work has deserved deep respect from Russian citizens".

    The Russian leader wished all Christians of Russia "good health, peace and prosperity".

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