To all my Orthodox Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
?Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada marking the celebration of Christmas by Orthodox Christians
January 6, 2012
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued the following statement on the celebration of Christmas by Orthodox Christians:
“Laureen and I and our family would like to extend our warmest wishes to all Orthodox Christians celebrating Christmas.
“It is a time of peace and unity, where friends and family gather together to celebrate their faith by observing rich cultural customs and traditions. It is also a time to reflect on the year gone by and give thanks for all of the blessings we enjoy in Canada.
“Last year, violence and persecution of Eastern Christians – in particular the violence against Iraqi Christians and a terrorist attack on a Coptic Church in Egypt – cast a dark shadow over Christmas celebrations, which should be a time of peace and joy.
“Recognizing that religious pluralism is inextricably linked to democratic development, our Government has committed to creating a special Office of Religious Freedom to monitor and help ensure religious minorities can practice their faith without fear of violence and repression.
“To help commemorate this celebration, the Government of Canada’s Lights Across Canada Program, which illuminates Confederation Boulevard and Parliament Hill, will remain lit until January 7.
“Again, Laureen and I wish you a very merry Christmas, and health, happiness and prosperity in the year ahead.”