For the first time in history, the Anglican and Catholic archbishops of Wales have issued a joint Christmas message.
Most Rev Andrew John and Most Rev Mark O’Toole have joined forces this festive season to invite people back to churches following the reduction of congregations after the coronavirus pandemic.
Archbishop Andrew told Premier they wanted to show a united front in reminding people of the message of hope the Christmas story has.
“That’s what we need at this time of year more than ever, the hope on which we agree as Christians that Jesus Christ was born as one of us.
“He came among us. He showed us that life with God was much better than life without God and he showed us that there was a way in which our past could be resolved. And the future opens up to us in a new and bright way,” he said.
The pair, who are both relatively new to their post, also reflected on the loss of the Queen, her legacy and the moments of “difficult and despair” faced by many with the cost of living crisis and the war in Ukraine.
They described the kindness shown by communities across the country helping each other and opening their doors to refugees as “flickers of light in the darkness”.
When asked about his hopes and challenges for 2023, Archbishop John said he hoped to work towards a society full of compassion.
“One of the big questions that I have, which I'd love to raise you up for on and on behalf not only of Wales, but for the whole of Great Britain is what kind of society do we want to live in?... What kind of society do we want to craft together? And how are we going to do that?
“This is a profound question that I think should be at the forefront of all Christian leaders. Because together we need to do better than we have done. And my hope is that, irrespective of one's political affiliation, those kinds of big questions about the virtues we want to bring to our public life…need to be addressed by all of us as we move from this year into the next and to do so together.”