Pope prays for Ukraine as Eastern Churches celebrate Christmas
As Christian Churches which follow the Julian calendar prepare to celebrate Christmas on 7 January, Pope Francis expressed his well-wishes to Eastern-rite Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
“In a special way,” he said at the Angelus prayer on Friday, “I would like to send greetings to our brothers and sisters of martyred Ukrainian people.”
Over 65 percent of Ukrainians profess Orthodoxy and another 9 percent belong to the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, according to a 2018 survey by the Razumkov Centre.
The Pope added his hopes that the celebration of the birth of the Lord might encourage steps toward peace.
"May the birth of the Saviour bring comfort and hope, and inspire concrete steps that may finally lead to an end to the fighting and to peace. May we pray often for Ukraine and for peace".