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January 10 2017

Christmas with the poor in Russia and Ukraine: the warmth of friendship in the cold winter

Pictures from the countries of Byzantine tradition, where on January 7th Christmas was celebrated

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Throughout Eastern Europe the temperatures in recent weeks have fallen below zero degrees, even lower than -25 ° in Ukraine and in Russia on Jan. 7, in the Byzantine Christmas party. On this day, the Community of Sant'Egidio in Russia and Ukraine have organized the traditional Christmas lunches with many homeless, "heating them" with the warmth of friendship and solidarity. This year the number of poor people and of those who came to serve them has increased. The lunches with the poor were a demonstration of generosity and of a widespread desire to be in solidarity with those who live in difficult conditions in these times of economic instability.

About 400 homeless people in Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg) and 600 in Ukraine (in Kiev, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk) took part in the lunches, some of which were held in Orthodox parishes, with the presence of the local bishops. There are many people who have helped the realization of the various parties, particularly college students and high school students of the movement of the Youth for Peace.

In the days before Christmas the Community of Sant'Egidio in Russia and Ukraine have organized several parties on the streets with the homeless and in elderly houses, reaching with the warmth of friendship around 2000 people.

Watch the photogallery of the Christmas lunches in Russia and Ukraine on our map >>

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