TheSerbian Orthodox Church
toher spiritual children at Christmas, 2008
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovciand Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church toall 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 theHoly Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
Everyyear, dear spiritual children, and so it is this year as well,we anticipate and welcome Christmas, the birthday of the Son ofGod, with joy, faith, hope and love. Why? Because it is in this event that the"fullness of time" was fulfilled, and so God the Father, "gave His onlybegotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but haveeverlasting life" (John 3:16). This event is the fulfillment of all cosmologicaland historical events: everything that had happened in God's creation andmankind's history received in that day "which the Lord had made" itsfulfillment and realization. The entry of God into the innermost part of liferepresents, also, a fulfillment of all of mankind's deepest yearnings asattested and proclaimed in all earthly nations before the birth of Christ. WithHis birth, the light of the knowledge of God shone forth. In that Divine lightthe meaning of the world, nature, and the ultimate goal of man's existence andthe existence of all creatures, both visible and invisible, was revealed to us.
On Saturday ,December 27, 2008 in the Russian Hall, during the Christmas-Epiphany gatherings a formal academy was held on the theme of “ In honour of motherhood’’, at the dawn of Mother`s Day. On behalf of His Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia and His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije , His Grace Bishop Atanasije of Hvosno opened the academy with the speech and he conveyed blessings of the Serbian Patriarch and the First Hierarch of the Serbian capital. His Grace Bishop stressed that the motherhood is an achievement and also pointed out the event when Mother of all mothers gave birth to the God-Man, who suffered passion and the Cross. Bishop Atanasije also emphasized a special responsibility and praises for Belgrade catechists who are mainly women and girls because in them children see mothers and hence confide in them. Singers of the First Belgrade society with Svetlana Vilic as a conductor enhanced the formal academy.
Developing a church school program for children of seminarians and faculty of St. Vladimir's Seminary (SVS) can be challenging: How do you spark the minds and shape the souls of students who already are immersed in church services, a rhythm of fasts and feasts, and a family life preoccupied with all things religious? To meet the challenge, SVS Church School Coordinator Katrina Bitar, herself a "PK" (priest's kid) and a 2nd-year seminarian in the Master of Arts program at SVS, decided to punctuate the season of Advent with a series of activities centered on charity.
Russian Orthodox mission in Belfast has had its first Orthodox Communion service - known as the divine liturgy.
It was celebrated in Slavonic and English by Father George Zavershinsky, right, and Deacon Nikolai from the Moscow Patriarchate parish of St Peter & St Paul in Dublin.
The liturgy took place on Saturday, December 20, in the St George's church in the city centre, made available by the Church of Ireland.
Bulgarian delegation including Bishop Neofit, Transport Minister Petar Mutafchiev, MPs and diplomats from the Bulgarian mission in Istanbul, Turkey, has visited the two Orthodox Churches in Edirne - St. George and St. St. Constantine and Helena. Minister Mutafchiev was received by Universal Patriarch Bartholomew I. At the invitation of the council of Churchwardens, on Saturday Bishop Neofit would serve a Solemn Mass marking the 110th anniversary of the sanctifying of the St. Stefan temple in Istanbul.
TheGreek community in Belgrade has celebrated today the holiday of theNativity of Jesus Christ, after the new calendar. The Holy Liturgy, whichfather Panajotis served in a church of St. Gabriel The Archangel in Zemun withthe concelebration of Serbian priests and deacons, was attended by lots ofpeople, children and the young from Greece who study and work in the Serbiancapital.
The Holy Liturgy was also attended by the diplomatic personnel of the Embassy ofGreece in Belgrade headed by the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. ChristosPanagopoulos, who has celebrated today his Name day as well.