With the blessing of His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, His Grace Vicar Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno attended today a celebration in the Belgrade City Hall where the former Ambassador of Japan in Serbian Mr. Tadashi Nagai presented with Belgrade's most prestigious award - the title of honorary citizen.
Nowadays, most countries use the Gregorian calendar and the beginning of the new year is celebrated on January 1. Celebrating New Year in Serbia, or Yugoslavia, became particularly significant after the end of the Second World War when the attempted extermination of the importance that a large part of the Christian population from this region attached to the celebration of Christmas, so that the attention was then focused on then the less celebrated and unpopular calendar "New Year".
The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches has commemorated September 1, 2009 as the 20th anniversary of the Day of Prayer on the protection of the environment, and he urged all persons of faith to take up the prayer today. The first environmental prayer day was instituted by the late Patriarch Demetrios I in 1989. Since then, every first day of September has been designated a day of prayer for the protection of the environment throughout the Orthodox world.