His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch officiated the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Cathedral church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Belgrade on Christmas Eve, 6 January 2016.
Patriarch Irinej served this morning, according to the ancient tradition of the Holy Orthodox Church, the Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great with the concelebration of the clergy of the Cathedral church.
The Serbian Orthodox Church
to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2015
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
"Sing to the Lord; bless His name;
Proclaim His salvation from day to day;
Declare His glory among the Gentiles,
His wonders among all peoples."
(Psalm 95 (96): 2-3)
With these words, dear brothers and sisters in Christ the Lord and our dear spiritual children, King David calls us to this Feast Day and to this festive celebration which the Lord Himself has prepared with His Birth from the Most Holy Virgin Mary in the Bethlehem cave. Two thousand years ago, the Most Holy Virgin Mary, together with the righteous Joseph, came to Bethlehem of Judea to be registered. Joseph's registering among his brothers and his kinsman served in the economy of salvation and in fulfilling the prophecy told by prophet Micah: "And you, O Bethlehem, House of Ephratha, though you are fewest in number among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the One to be ruler of Israel. His goings forth were from the beginning, even from everlasting." (Micah 5:1)
How can a womb contain Him whom nothing can contain?
How can He remain in His Father’s bosom, yet rest in His mother’s arms?
It is His good pleasure to accomplish this. . .
(Nativity Matinal Kathisma Hymn)
God in His Providence deigned, and it is truly according to His good will, that the birth of а child be a great source of joy. For all of us who anticipate that child, its birth evokes boundless love – tenderness – toward that newborn life! As such we celebrate the birth of Christ according to the flesh with hymns of praise and joyful songs. For His birth is the source and foundation of our salvation as He, God before all ages, is “born as a little Child”. Christ is born, beloved, glorify Him!
This holy man is called ``the God-bearer'' because he constantly bore the name of the Living God in his heart and on his lips. According to tradition, he was thus named because he was held in the arms of God Incarnate, Jesus Christ. On a day when the Lord was teaching His disciples humility, He took a child and placed him among them, saying: Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:4). This child was Ignatius. Later, Ignatius was a disciple of St. John the Theologian, together with Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. As Bishop of Antioch, Ignatius governed the Church of God as a good shepherd and was the first to introduce antiphonal chanting in the Church, in which two choirs alternate the chanting. This manner of chanting was revealed to St. Ignatius by the angels in heaven. When Emperor Trajan was passing through Antioch on his way to do battle with the Persians, he heard of Ignatius, summoned him and counseled him to offer sacrifice to the idols. If Ignatius would do so, Trajan would bestow upon him the rank of senator. As the counsels and threats of the emperor were in vain, St. Ignatius was shackled in irons and sent to Rome in the company of ten merciless soldiers, to be thrown to the wild beasts. Ignatius rejoiced in suffering for his Lord, only praying to God that the wild beasts would become the tomb for his body and that no one would prevent him from this death. After a long and difficult journey from Asia through Thrace, Macedonia and Epirus, Ignatius arrived in Rome, where he was thrown to the lions in the circus. The lions tore him to pieces and devoured him, leaving only several of the larger bones and his heart. This glorious lover of the Lord Christ suffered in the year 106 in Rome at the time of the Christ-hating Emperor Trajan. Ignatius has appeared many times from the other world and worked miracles, even to this day helping all who call upon him for help.
Danilo was the son of wealthy and God-loving parents. In his youth he was given a good upbringing. King Milutin took him to his court, but out of great love for God he fled and was tonsured a monk in the Monastery of Konèulsk near the Ibar. Later, he was the abbot of the Monastery of Hilandar [Mount Athos] and suffered much from the plundering Latin Crusaders. He was the Bishop of Banja, then of Hum, and finally the Archbishop of Serbia. From beginning to end, he was a strict ascetic and had the special gift of tears. He made peace between Kings Dragutin and Milutin, and later between Milutin and Stefan of Deèani. He fought fervently against the Latins as well as the Bogomils. Under his supervision, the Monasteries of Banja and Deèani were built, and he restored and built many other churches. He wrote the genealogy of the Serbian kings and saints. Untiring in his service to God to the end of his life, he entered peacefully into rest on the night between the nineteenth and twentieth of December, 1338, during the reign of Tsar Du an. Danilo was a great hierarch, a great ascetic, a great laborer and a great patriot.
His Holiness Irinej, Serbian Patriarch, received President of the Republic of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolic at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.
Belgrade, 28 December 2015. - The high guest and His Holiness discussed the problems facing the Serbian Orthodox Church and the suffering of the Serbian people on Kosovo and Metohija, with a special emphasis on a perspective that could be expected after opening Chapter 35 by the European Union.