By the Mercy of God
Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, peace and mercy from the Savior Christ, born in Bethlehem
Beloved brethren and children in the Lord,
The great and sacred day of Christmas has dawned, the metropolis and mother of all feasts, inviting each of us to spiritual uplifting and encounter with the Ancient of Days, who became an infant for us.
On December 15, 2008 at the Patriarchatebuilding minister of culture in the Serbian government Nebojsa Bradic visited MetropolitanAmfilohoje of Montenegro and the Littoral , the deputy of His HolinessPatriarch Pavle of Serbia. He was accompanied by Dushica Zivkovic, assistantminister for the preservation of the cultural heritage, VeraPavlovic-Loncarski, the director of the Cultural Heritage PreservationInstitute of Serbia and Danijela Filipovic, the chief of the office of the minister.
His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, on behalf of his Holiness Patriarch Pavle of Serbia, presented today, on the occasion of 80 years of life, to academician and poet Miodrag Pavlovic the Order of St. Sava for his demonstrated love to the Holy Mother Church, particularly manifested by the priceless contribution to our cultural heritage and a true testimony of the orthodox spirituality.
By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we, thirty representatives of the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches in Europe, from countries stretching from the Urals to the Atlantic, have gathered together for the First European Catholic-Orthodox Forum. We express our gratitude to all who have worked for the success of this meeting, especially to the Archbishop of Trent who warmly received us and offered hospitality. The meeting has been organised by the Council of European Bishops Conferences (CCEE), in close collaboration with various Orthodox Churches and some of the dicasteries of the Holy See.
We have expressed our deep sorrow at the sudden death of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexis II of Moscow and All Russia, who had warmly extended his blessing upon the project of this Forum.
In Athens, in the shadow of protests, today ends a three-day scientific seminar - Dialogue between Christianity and Islam, within an interreligious educational initiative for cooperation, with the theme titled '' The Ability of building interreligious dialogue''. The Patriarchate of Constantinople and the World Islamic Call Society both organized this seminar which lasted from December 11 to 13, 2008 in the capital of Greece.
His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, made statements about the loss of the former President of Cyprus, Mr Tassos Papadopoulos.
His Beatitude, having expressed his deep sadness, praised the virtues of the deceased former President as well as the efforts he made for the rights of Cypriot Hellenes. He said: "We are saddened at the loss of a great man from the martyred Island, a man with high patriotic fortitude, who from a young age up until the final moment of his life, fought for the common good, always beside Orthodoxy and the Missionary efforts of the Patriarchate of Alexandria.