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Photograph: HINA/ Tomislav Pavlek / tp

Eastern Orthodox believers on Wednesday evening celebrated Christmas Eve, and the Christmas Eve service was conducted in Zagreb's Church of the Holy Transfiguration by Ljubljana-Zagreb Metropolitan Porfirije Peric, who said that words of peace today were needed more than they had ever been needed before.

Attending the service was also President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who in a statement for the press extended her best wishes to Eastern Orthodox believers and wished all Croatian citizens peace and well-being in the New Year.

In his sermon, Metropolitan Peric called on the faithful to embark "on the path of transformation because the line that divides good and evil does not run between nations, states, races and classes but through everybody's heart."

The reason for conflicts, unrest and misunderstandings should not be sought outside oneself, the Serb Orthodox dignitary said, adding that human beings were free and that peace depended on them.

Attending the Christmas Eve service were numerous believers, representatives of the Serb National Council, the Council for Ethnic Minorities, and other politicians and public figures.

Earlier in the day, the president of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), Tomislav Karamarko, too, extended his best wishes for Christmas to believers who celebrate Christmas according to the Julian calendar.

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