Christian world

Egypt's Sisi attends Coptic Christmas celebration amid tight security

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi attended on Saturday evening the Coptic Christmas Eve celebration held at a new, partly-opened cathedral in the country's new administrative capital city eastern Cairo.

"This partial opening of the cathedral is a very important message of peace and love not only to Egyptians but to the whole world," said the Egyptian president in his remarks at the cathedral aired on the state TV.

Aram I decorated the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with “prince Of Cilicia” medallion

On Monday, December 11, 2017, His Holiness Aram I paid a short visit to Cyprus and participated in an Armenian cultural event, during which he decorated the Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades with “Prince of Cilicia” Medallion. His Holiness also met with Chrysostomos II, Archbishop of Cyprus.

Receiving the medallion, President Anastasiades expressed his gratitude to His Holiness and in his speech he mentioned that Cypriot Armenians are dedicated citizens of Cyprus. 

Attack on Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt Kills Eleven: Christians Panic

An attack on the Coptic Orthodox Church of Mar Mina in Helwan district area in Cairo has left eleven dead and several others injured. According to several reports, five terrorist attacked the church. Islamic militants have claimed responsibility for the attack. Few Police officers were also killed during the attack. Apart form the Church, the militants also trageted Christian shops. Coptic Orthodox Christians are regularly targeted my militants and religious extremists in Egypt. There is a lot of panic among Egyptian Coptic Christians. They are uncertain of a secure future in the country. They have suffered enough and more from religious extremism. Coptic Christians are truly living martyrs of Christ. Coptic Orthodox Church is one of the worlds ancient Churches established by St Mark the Evangelist.

Armenian President visits Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia

On a visit to Tbilisi, President Serzh Sargsyan had a meeting with His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of All Georgia.

On behalf of the Armenian nation and on his own behalf the President congratulated the Catholicos on the 40th anniversary of enthronement, emphasizing the efforts he has taken towards the strengthening of the Georgian Orthodox Church in the course of four decades.

Christmas Is About Jesus, Otherwise It Is Fake, Pope Says

At General Audience, Francis Also Explains Why We Exchange Gifts on Christmas

The birth of Jesus is the greatest gesture of love of our Father in Heaven, and therefore, we must resist attempts to distort Christmas which detract from its meaning.

Pope Francis stressed this during this morning’s General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall, Dec. 27, 2017, as he discussed the significance of Christmas, which in these days we are living in faith and in celebrations.

The Pope began mentioning that the construction of the nativity scene and the readings and traditional songs, have made those present with him for the General Audience hall relive today, the day in which Christ, the Lord, was born.

Warning: Distortion

In our time, especially in Europe, the Pope said, we witness a sort of “distortion” of Christmas.

“In the name of a false respect that is not Christian, which often hides the will to marginalize the faith,” Francis continued, “it eliminates from the celebration any reference to the birth of Jesus. But, in fact, this event is the only true Christmas!”

“Without Jesus there is no Christmas,” the Pope decried, “there is another party, but not Christmas.”

If Christ is in the center, then also the whole celebration, the lights, sounds, various local traditions, including the characteristic foods, all combine to create the atmosphere of the celebration properly, but only when Jesus is at the center, the Pope underscored.

“If we take away Him, the light goes out and everything becomes fake,” he decried.

Seeking the True Light

Through the proclamation of the Church, the Pope encouraged, we, like the shepherds of the Gospel, are guided to seek and find the true light, that of Jesus Who, made man like us, shows himself in a surprising way: born of a poor unknown young girl, who gives birth to Him in a stable, with only the help of her husband.

“The world does not notice anything, but in heaven the angels who know exult!” he said.

This, he pointed out, is how the Son of God presents himself to us today: as the gift of God for humanity who is immersed in the night and in the torpor of sleep.

“And even today we are witnessing the fact that humanity often prefers darkness because it knows that light would reveal all those actions and thoughts that would make the conscience blush or tarnish. Thus, we prefer to stay in the dark and not upset their bad habits.”

The True Gift, and Why We Exchange Gifts

Pope Francis then asked all faithful to ask themselves what it means to accept the gift of God that is Jesus. “As He Himself taught us with His life,” the Pope said, “it means becoming a free gift for those who meet on their own path every day.”

“That’s why at Christmas they exchange gifts,” Francis said, noting: The true gift for us is Jesus, and like him we want to be a gift for others. And since we want to be a gift to others, we exchange gifts, as a sign, as a sign of this attitude that Jesus teaches us: He, sent by the Father, was a gift for us, and we are gifts for others.”

The Pope recalled a passage from the Apostle St. Paul he finds especially important:  “The grace of God appeared, bringing salvation to all people and teaching us to live in this world with sobriety, with justice and piety “(Titus 2: 11-12). The grace of God ‘appeared’ in Jesus, the face of God, which the Virgin Mary gave birth to as every child in this world, but who did not come from earth, but from Heaven, from God.”

“In this way, with the incarnation of the Son, God has opened the way for new life, founded not on egoism but on love.”

Greatest Gesture of God

“The birth of Jesus,” Pope Francis declared, “is the greatest gesture of love of our Father in Heaven.”

The Holy Father then turned to one last important aspect. “in Christmas we can see how human history, that moved by the powerful of this world, is visited by the history of God.” Francis reminded how God involves those who, confined to the margins of society, are the first recipients of seeing the great light …and of the gift, namely the Salvation brought by Jesus.

“With these people, with the little ones and the despised ones, Jesus establishes a friendship that continues in time and that nourishes the hope for a better future. To these people, represented by the shepherds of Bethlehem, appeared a great light, which led them straight to Jesus.”

With them, at all times, the Pope reminded, God wants to build a new world, a world in which there are no more people refused, mistreated and destitute.

In These Days

The Holy Father lamented how many people in their life have never experienced a caress, an attention of love, a gesture of tenderness, noting “Christmas urges us to respond.”

Once we do, he explained, Jesus comes to be born again in the life of each one of us and, through us, continues to be a gift of salvation for the little ones and the excluded.

Pope Francis concluded, with the following encouragement: “Dear brothers and sisters, in these days we open our minds and hearts to welcome this grace. Jesus is God’s gift to us and, if we welcome it, we too can become it for others – to be God’s gift to others – first of all for those who have never experienced attention and tenderness.”

The Pope greeted various groups present and also received a circus toward the conclusion of the audience.

Source: Zenit.org

Pope Francis Makes Christmas Visit to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

Pope Francis visited Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI Thursday afternoon to personally give his Christmas greetings to the Pontiff Emeritus at his residence at the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery in Vatican City, reported the Holy See Press Office. As has become their tradition, they prayed together briefly and then spent some time having pleasant conversation. The visit lasted about 30 minutes.

Anglican Community in Belgrade celebrated Christmas

Anglican Community in Belgrade celebrated Christmas
Anglican Community in Belgrade celebrated Christmas
Anglican Community in Belgrade celebrated Christmas
Anglican Community in Belgrade celebrated Christmas

On behalf of His Holiness Irinej, the Serbian Patriarch, His Grace Bishop Antonije of Moravica attended the Christmas service. - The Office for Cooperation with Churches and Religuous Communities the Christmas Liturgy was represented by its Deputy Director Marko Nikolic, PhD.

The Anglican Community of St. Mary in Belgrade, which otherwise holds its regular divine services in St. Mary’s Church at Visegradska Street in Belgrade, - observing a rather long tradition, celebrates solemn Christmas and Easter Liturgies in the Patriarchate chapel of Saint Simeon the Myrrh-gusher.