The Orthodox Church celebrates each year on December 25th the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, commonly known as Christmas.
On this great feast day, His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, presided the Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Cathedral in Bucharest. Together with His Beatitude concelebrated His Grace Timotei of Prahova, Assistant Bishop to the Archdiocese of Bucharest, and His Grace Qais of Erzurum, Assistant Bishop to the Patriarch of Antioch, surrounded by an assembly of priests and deacons.
Christmas is always distinguished for the festive atmosphere that creates and the sense of joy it brings for everyone and everywhere. Its spirit can be felt long before the feast, in the particular church services of this period, such as the Hours, the Holy Unction etc, but also in the festive attire in which the capital of Albania gets dressed at this season. Not to mention, the numerous activites organized with the Orthodox children and young adults, like concerts, carol singing etc, and charitable activities, such as paying visits and delievering gifts to the nursing homes, prisons, centers for children with disabilities, etc.
Renowned for his friendly, peaceful attitude and his inspiring speeches, nothing seems impossible for this man. He has struggled and faced a multitude of difficulties including severe illness and persecution, and he was asked to take up a new position at age 62. He committed to a country whose language and culture were unknown to him, arriving in the only officially declared atheist state, asked to rebuild the church.
In Tirana, Albania, 24 years later, he hosted the Global Christian Forum (GCF) consultation from 1-5 November. There, 150 high-level leaders and representatives of various church traditions from more than 60 countries gathered to listen and learn, and to stand in solidarity with churches and Christians experiencing discrimination and persecution in the world today.“It’s the fruit of our work together in Albania,” said Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania.
One of the largest and most known churches in St Petersburg, the St. Vladimir cathedral has opened after a a major restoration, the first since the commissioning of the edifice 225 years ago.
Also on Sunday, an episcopal liturgy was held in the cathedral to close out the St. Petersburg part of the festivities for the 1,000th anniversary since the death of Vladimir the Duke of Kiev, who baptized the early medieval kingdom of Kievan Rus in 988.
"The were no redecorations in the cathedral from the time of its opening and it has undergone restoration for the first time," a spokesman for the St Petersburg diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church told TASS.
"This is one of the few churches in this city that has never been closed, although four attempts were made in the 1930's to close it down," he said.
Greetings of Metropolitan Hilarion to Metropolitan Amfilohije on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his episcopal consecration and the 25th anniversary of his election to the See of Cetinje25. December 2015 - 21:59
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations, sent a message of greetings to Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and Primorje.