Orthodox Christians in Seychelles celebrate the birth of Christ
The Orthodox faithful in Seychelles celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on Saturday January 7th in a joyful Divine Liturgy, attended by about 70 believers.
The Christmas Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Father Sergios (Janosevic) of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, serving in the English language for the mixed Orthodox community of Seychelles: Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, and Eritrean and Egyptian Coptic faithful.
The liturgy was attended by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Seychelles, Mr. Mikhail Kalinin, as well as the Chairman of the Seychelles-Russia Friendship Society, Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Ciseau.
A five-member female choir sang hymns in Old Church Slavonic with Serbian church melodies at the service which took place at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay hotel, where some Russian, Romanian and Greek Cypriot tourists also joined in the celebration.
In reading the message of the Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II, Father Sergios said that Christ's birth in Bethlehem had given Motherhood a new meaning; that it was sanctified by the Mother of God, the Theotokos, in the humble stable in Bethlehem.
“The Theotokos’ attitude gave prominence to maternal love as an irreplaceable portal of human life. Her attitude highlighted the principles of mildness, humility and solidarity. Furthermore, the image of maternal shelter and protection, as this was reflected in the small stable in Bethlehem, was to become an everlasting benchmark for all the women of the world. A refuge of hope each time the last glimmer of light was lost. A refuge of courage each time the last reserves of strength were being depleted,” said the message of Patriarch Theodoros II.
The Patriarch’s message recalled the terrible treatment of mothers in Sub-Saharan Africa especially the women who are victims of trafficking, violence, abuse, diseases and unemployment.
“A world without mothers is world without love and a world without respect for women as the source of life; it is a world without humanity. Let us therefore not allow the crisis of our times to violate respect for women’s rights. Rights know no gender, no borders. Let us show the necessary respect for the person, the work, the effort, the needs and the wishes of the mother, wife, sister and daughter,” said the Patriarch.
After the Liturgy the faithful joined together for a celebration with traditional Balkan food and refreshments.
Source: Father Sergios Janosevic