Marking January 9th – National Day of the Republic of Srpska and its Patron Saint-day, Holy First Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen, began with the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the church of Christ the Saviour in Banjaluka officiated by His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch.
Their Graces Bishops Jefrem of Banjaluka, Hrizostom of Zvornik-Tuzla, Atanasije of Bihac-Petrovac and Grigorije of Zahumlje-Herzegovina cocelebrated. The Liturgy was attended by President of Republic of Srpska Mr. Milorad Dodik, Prime Minsuer of the Republic of Srpska Mrs Zeljka Cvijanovic with her ministers, Crown Prince Aleksandar and Princess Katarina Karadjordjevic, ministers in the Government of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of the political and public life anda great number of the faitful.
- photo gallery (photo: Strahinja Kragulj)
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Cathedral church of Saint Archangel Michael in Belgrade on 7 January 2017, on the joyful feast-day of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ– Christmas.
The festal Divine Liturgy was attended by President of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolic, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and Princess Katherine, Chief of the Serbian General Staff General Ljubisa Dikovic, Minister of Justice Mrs. Nela Kuburovic, representatives of the Republic and City authorities, Apostolic Nuncio of the Holy See in Belgrade Archbishop Luciano Suriani with his Secretary Mons. Filippo Colnago, Archbishop of Belgrade His Eminence Stanislav Hocevar, representatives of traditional Churches and religious communities, members of the diplomatic corps, as well as representatives of the cultural and public life of the capital.
Protopresbyter-staurophor Radomir Nikcevic, officiated the Holy Liturgy in the church of Holy Trinity in Vraka.
The celebration of Christmas in Vraka near Skadar began with solemn blessing and burning of the Yule logs on 6 January 2016. In front of the church of Holy Trinity in Vraka Yule logs were blessed by the priest of the Albanian Orthodox Church in Skadar Nikola Petani, following the approval of Archbishop Anastasios of Albania and Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral.
The Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia, Mr. Aleksandar Vucic, extended Christmas greetings to the Hierarchs, clergy and all the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
In his Christmas message the Prime Minister writes: “I extend my sincere best wishes to the clergy, monastics and all the Orthodox faithful who most joyfully celebrate the Christian feast-day of the Nativity of Christ according to the Julian calendar, wishing that you may spend the Christmastide in peace, joy, spiritual welfare and every progress. God’s peace! – Christ is born!
BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery.
My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.
Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.
President of Croatia Mrs. Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic sent best wishes to the Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan of Zagreb-Ljubljana, His Eminence Porfirius, and via him to the clergy, monastics and faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Croatia, on the occasion of the forthcoming feast-days of Orthodox Christmas, and greeted him with the traditional Christmas greeting: God’s Peace – Christ is Born !
“May the Christmas be a feast-day of Christian joy, peace, family and devotional fellowship, encouragement for persistence in the common efforts of all Christian believers and the people of good while building up Croatia as a country of benefit for all its citizens,” was written in the message of Mrs. Kiktarovic.