By the Mercy of God
Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, peace and mercy from the Savior Christ, born in Bethlehem
Beloved brethren and children in the Lord,
The great and sacred day of Christmas has dawned, the metropolis and mother of all feasts, inviting each of us to spiritual uplifting and encounter with the Ancient of Days, who became an infant for us.
Georgian catholic patriarch Ilia the second once more spoke about the meeting with Russian president on joint meeting of academy of scientists. Patriarch stated that they reached good agreement on meeting with Dmitry Medvedev. "There were pretty good, positive agreements, but it needs continuation, cautious and diplomatic approach. I think that our government will continue it", - Ilia the second stated. Patriarch declared that big delegation will visit Georgia from Russia on December 24 headed by former culture minister, incumbent Medvedev's advisor Mikheil Shvidkov. Russian delegation will take part in scientific conference.
"We will never permit tricks or the vagaries of history to wipe us out from this land": the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, has commented on the report of the Turkish foreign ministry, which denigrates the "minority" presence of the Greek Orthodox community in Turkey, and refuses to recognize the "ecumenical" character of the ancient patriarchate.
Presiding over the reopening of the church dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helena in the Bozakoy neighborhood in Istanbul, Bartholomew I highlighted for the faithful present that "we are not finished, or hopeless." And recalling the great battle of Greek king Leonides against Xerxes of Persia, he added: "we will never abandon our Thermopylae."
On December 15, 2008 at the Patriarchatebuilding minister of culture in the Serbian government Nebojsa Bradic visited MetropolitanAmfilohoje of Montenegro and the Littoral , the deputy of His HolinessPatriarch Pavle of Serbia. He was accompanied by Dushica Zivkovic, assistantminister for the preservation of the cultural heritage, VeraPavlovic-Loncarski, the director of the Cultural Heritage PreservationInstitute of Serbia and Danijela Filipovic, the chief of the office of the minister.
A large and enthusiastic crowd packed the conference hall of the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris from December 11-14, 2008 to hear speakers from around the world present papers on "The Legacy of Father Alexander Schmemann." Among the speakers were several SVS faculty and alumni, including Dr. Paul Meyendorff, The Father Alexander Schmemann Professor of Liturgical Theology at St. Vladimir's; The Very Rev. Leonid Kishkovsky, Director of External Affairs and Interchurch Relations of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA); Joost Van Rossum, Professor of Church History at St. Sergius; Jean-François Colosimo, Professor of the History of Philosophy and Byzantine Theology at St. Sergius; The Very Rev. Alexis Vinogradov, rector of St. Gregory the Theologian Church, Wappingers Falls, NY; Stig Symeon Froyshov, Professor of Ancient Church History and Patristics at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Oslo; and The Rev. William Mills, rector of the Nativity of the Theotokos Church, Charlotte, NC.