On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of his patriarchal enthronment, Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia together with the Holy Synod members celebrated a festal Liturgy at the Patriarchal Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in the city of Mtskheta, which earlier this year the Georgian Orthodox Church declared as the “Holy City”.
During his sermon Ilia II said the following: “God is with us. These words are written in the Bible. During my enthronement (as Patriarch of Georgia) on December 25, 1977, I had a feeling that God was with us. I sensed and saw how impoverished Georgia and our Church then were. At the same time I felt that the Lord was very close to us and He really was near us. So, over a stretch of 37 years I never was in despair. I always had only hope. Because I saw the mercy of God, saw the grace that has been poured out on Georgia.
On December 23, 2014, the Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church met for its last session in 2014, at the Synodal Hall of the Kiev Laura of the Dormition. The session was chaired by His Beatitude Onufry, Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.
The Synod adopted an appeal to President Petro Poroshenko concerning the critical situation in the Ukrainian society. The appeal cites glaring facts of the damage inflicted on churches in the armed conflict zone in south-east Ukraine: 9 churches are fully destroyed, 77 are damaged; the residence of the Metropolitan of Donetsk at the Peski village near Donetsk is plundered. The Holy Synod appealed to the Ukrainian President to ensure due and impartial investigation of these facts.
Clergy and faithful from parishes across the Midwest gathered at historic Holy Trinity Cathedral here on the morning of Saturday, December 27, 2014 for the celebration of the Hierarchical Divine Liturgy, during which Bishop-Elect Paul [Gassios] was consecrated to the Episcopacy as Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest.
About 380 young people, ages 18-30 years old, gathered on Saturday, December 13, 2014, at the Cultural Center of the “Resurrection of Christ” Cathedral, in Tirana. The representatives of youth groups from different cities of the country came together for the further development and strengthening of the Orthodox Youth Association of Albania, which has been created in accordance with the Statutes of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Albania. The Association’s goals are the active participation of youth in the life of the Church, the cultivation of friendships, and a deeper knowledge of the Orthodox faith, Christian witness and service.
On Tuesday the 10th/23rd of December 2014, the Israeli Ministry of Tourism organized an event which had as guests representatives of Judaism and Christianity. The event was held in celebration of the Hanukah (the rededication of the Temple of Solomon), Christmas and the New Year 2015, at the Mercaz Shimson in Beit Shmuel, West Jerusalem, opposite David’s Gate and the hill of the Holy Sion.
At the event, the Israeli Minister of Tourism, Mr Uzi Landau, and his associates, hosted lunch for the representatives of Christian Churches in Jerusalem, namely the Greek Patriarch, the representative of the Latin Patriarch, the Custodian of the Holy Land, the Ethiopian Patriarch and the Representative of the Lutheran Church. Also in attendance was Mr Cesar Margiye, Head of the Office of Christian Affairs at the Foreign Ministry, representatives of the Police and the Israeli Civil Administration, Ambassadors of states, etc.
On Wednesday, the 11th/24th of December 2014, the king of Jordan visited the historical city of Karak (ancient Kyriakoupolis) in South Jordan, to meet with subjects of his kingdom, Muslims and Christians alike, on the occasion of Christmas.