"I wish health and well-being to Orthodox Christians and all Russian citizens who celebrate Christmas," Putin said in his congratulatory address, as quoted by the Kremlin.
According to the president, during Christmas holidays, "millions of people around the world experience joy and elation, a special feeling of being a part of centuries-old traditions passed down from generation to generation." This holiday, he went on, fills people’s hearts with "love and faith in the triumph of good and justice."
"Such large, fruitful work is very important and deserves the deepest recognition," he added.
Orthodox Christians in Russia celebrate Christmas Day on January 7. In the late hours of Monday, Putin arrived at the Transfiguration Cathedral in St. Petersburg to attend an overnight Christmas mass. The overnight Christmas service lasted over one and a half hours.