The emails started flying almost as soon as word got out. Haiti had been devastated by its worst earthquake in 200 years and the ladies of Holy Cross Antiochian Orthodox Church in a quiet suburb south of Baltimore went to work.
"We decided that children or anyone who was going to the Holy Cross movie night on Saturday could make hygiene kits for IOCC," said Debora Mattingly, president of the church's ladies group. Mattingly then sent out an email on Wednesday -- just one day after the quake hit -- asking those who were stopping by at that evening's Vespers service to also bring supplies.
Patriarch Kirill congratulates Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada on the first anniversary of his enthronement31. December 2009 - 10:46
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in his message to His Beatitude Metropolitan Jonah of All America and Canada congratulated him on the anniversary of his enthronement. Below is the text of the message:
Dear Brother and Concelebrant beloved in the Lord:
At its meeting on 25 December 2009, the Holy Synod made a number of decisions concerning the external work of the Russian Orthodox Church. Regarding the Patriarch Kirill's report on his visit to Azerbaijan for the 30th anniversary of the Caucasus Muslim Board Chairman Allahshuqur Pasha-zade's being in the capacity of sheikh-ul-Islam and his meeting there with Patriarch-Catholicos Iliya II of All Georgia, it was agreed that the meeting was important for strengthening and developing fraternal relations between the Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches. As had been agreed with the head of the Georgian Church, the Holy Synod resolved that Archimandrite Roman (Lukin), Moscow diocese, be sent to Tbilisi for pastoral care of Russian-speaking believers and be charged with representing the position of the Russian Orthodox Church as needed. With regard to the talk that Patriarch Kirill had with Azerbaijani President Ildar Aliev, it was agreed to develop cooperation with the Azerbaijani authorities. Gratitude was expressed to Allahshuqur Pasha-zade for the warm welcome in Baku and importance of strengthening relations with the Muslim Board for the Caucasus was noted.
His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew received His Excellency Yves Leterne, the Prime Minister of Belgium, to the Ecumenical Patriarchate on December 30, 2009.
Before his departure from the Phanar, the Belgian Prime Minister toured the Patriarchal Church of St. George and finally said: "It was very interesting to visit the roots of the Christian faith in this region of the world. The Orthodox Church is one of those roots, binding together the whole society."
The first ever Divine Liturgy was celebrated by Archbishop Innokenty of Korsun in Castelo Branco, Portugal, during his pastoral visit to Portugal on December 23-27. Surrounded by dense forests, this city has seen only Orthodox prayer services. Sometimes there were evangelizing talks organized through the efforts of the Moscow Patriarchate community in Lisbon. The city is located 200 km away from the Portuguese capital. There are many Orthodox Christians, economic immigrants from Eastern Europe, who just as the locals are engaged in sheep breeding, horticulture and cultivation of olives.
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America