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    PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL RUSSIA ALEXIS II CONGRATULATES RUSSIANS ON UPCOMING ORTHODOX YOUTH'S DAY

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    MOSCOW, February 13 (From a RIA Novosti correspondent) - Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexis II congratulated on Friday young Russians on upcoming Day of Orthodox Youth, which has been marked for several decades now by all the Orthodox world on February 15 (the Candlemas holiday, or Sretenye), RIA Novosti was told at the external church relations department of the Moscow Patriarchate.

    In Russia, Orthodox Youth's Day has been widely marked since last year. In his message of greetings the patriarch recalled that Sretenye means a meeting in Slavic.

    "It is gratifying when the meeting between a human soul and God takes place in youth. A young man usually takes pride in his bodily beauty and physical strength, but nothing graces him more than spiritual qualities and lofty morals," Alexis II emphasized.

    According to the patriarch, today "the ancient Russian land is witnessing a spiritual revival," with "young people crowding God's temples, joining emerging monasteries as brethren, undergoing instruction in theological academies and working in parochial communities." At the same time the patriarch pointed out that more often than not children given first lessons in Orthodox faith later get separated from the Church - through the fault of "pastors and teachers who were unable to reveal before them the great wealth and beauty of Holy Orthodoxy." The primate of the Russian Orthodox Church urged "all Christians to treat with veneration and care the soul of each child." "Let us not pass by those children and teenagers who look to our part in their fate. Let us be patient and condescending, sincere and attentive to them," Alexis II stressed.

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