Dean of St. Vladimir's Academy, New York, Archpriest John Behr, has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund, a non-profit organization committed to rebuilding church and social life in Kosovo. The relief fund sponsors myriad humanitarian projects, including the one hundred fifty-three Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries that have been destroyed in Kosovo and Metohija since 1998; to date, only three of these church institutions have been repaired, and the Decani Monastery Relief Fund has undertaken the ambitious task of restoring them.
+ B A R T H O L O M E W
By the Mercy of God
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, Peace and Mercy from our Savior Born in Bethlehem
“Christ is born again and the Angels sing once more:
‘Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will among all.’”
Beloved brothers and sisters, children in the Lord,
The angels chant these three majestic proclamations and yet the great majority of human beings, although celebrating the feast of Christmas, cannot perceive the significance of the angelic song, instead asking themselves whether God is truly glorified today or why God should even be glorified; where can one discern on earth the peace that is announced, and why should contemporary humanity live with good will?
Tens of thousands of tourists and Christian pilgrims packed the West Bank town of Bethlehem for Christmas Eve celebrations Saturday, bringing warm holiday cheer to the traditional birthplace of Jesus on a raw, breezy and rainy night.
With turnout at its highest in more than a decade, proud Palestinian officials said they were praying the celebrations would bring them closer to their dream of independence.
The thousands of Christians in Turkey began their Christmas celebrations on December 24th 2011. At the Fener Greek Patriarchate on Sunday morning, many Christians celebrated Christmas Day. Along with local Orthodox Christians, hundreds of Orthodox Christians from different provinces of Turkey and abroad attended the service led by Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew. The service began at 9 a.m. in the Aya Yorgi church located in the garden of the Fener Greek Patriarchate.
On December 19, 2011, on the eve of his Name Day, His Beatitude Patriarch Ignatius IV of the Great Antioch and All the East visited the Church of St. Ignatius the God-Bearer – the Representation of the Russian Orthodox Church in Damascus, where he officiated at Great Vespers. Two choirs sang hymns in the Arabic and Church Slavonic languages, the Representation’s site reports.