About ten shells from the front line were fired December 23, 2016 in the city of Debaltseve, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. Shells of no less than a 150 mm caliber were used during the shelling, which are prohibited by the Minsk Accords.
One of the shells fell on the territory of the Alexander Nevsky Church. The Sunday School building was significantly damaged: one wall was fully destroyed, the rest partially. Thankfully there were no children in the building at the time. Windows in the church were broken, the façade was damaged by shrapnel, and the metal door was punctured. A new cupola lying on the ground was also damaged.
The birth of Christ represents God’s programme for the life of the world, for salvation or its release from sin and death and its leading to the eternal life of the Kingdom of Heaven, said the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, His Beatitude Daniel, in his Christmas sermon.
The Father has acquiesced. The Word became flesh.
And the Virgin bore the Incarnate God.
The star calls. The Wise Men venerate.
Shepherds admire and the universe rejoices.
(Troparion of Christmas Hymns)
The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ celebrates today a “strange and paradoxical” mystery and this it proclaims “in great joy” across the world. The Church celebrates the extraordinary event that God the Father, Creator and Ruler of the universe, acting on extreme love and compassion, recreated and reshaped man impaired by sin, in the face of His Only-Begotten Son and Logos. “But when the set time had fully come” (Galatians 4,4) during the reign of Cesar Octavian August, the Son and Word of God was born in flesh, in Bethlehem, Judea, incarnate through the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in Nazareth, Galilee. Jesus Christ, “though in the form of God, took the form a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Phl. 2, 6-7). “Made of woman, made under the law, that we might receive adoption” (Galatians 4,4) and “become children of God” (John 1, 12).
His Beatitude Patriarch John X arrived in Aleppo on Saturday, December 24, 2016 to celebrate Christmas with the children of this steadfast diocese, who are wounded by the absence of their shepherd, His Eminence Metropolitan Paul.
A Russian delegation has arrived in Damascus with humanitarian aid and more than 1,000 children’s Christmas gifts in tow, for families that have lost parents in the war, reports life.ru.
The cargo of medicine, grains, sugar, salt, pasta, canned foods, candy, stationery, and children’s toys was delivered by participants from the “Forty Times Forty” Orthodox public organization, the Apostle Paul Foundation, and the Orthodox social network “Elitsy.”