BY THE GRACE OF GOD
BISHOP OF THE METROPOLITANATE OF
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
GOD’S PEACE — CHRIST IS BORN!
The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2014
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. ”
(I Tim. 3:16)
We are celebrating once again in this year of the Lord, brothers and sisters, the day of Christ’s Nativity, the day on which God descended to earth, the day on which the Only-begotten Son of God became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in order to grant us, mortal and transitory people, eternal life.
The Nativity of our Lord is the day on which God became man, so that men could become gods by grace; the Lord’s Nativity is the day of the revelation of the eternal truth about God, man and the world; the Nativity is the day on which heaven was united with earth; the day on which the eternal light of the knowledge of God shown forth; the Nativity is the day on which mankind is reconciled with God and people recognize that they are children of God – that all people are and will eternally be brothers, called to mutual love, reconciliation and forgiveness.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej awarded Dr. Smilja Avramov and Mr. Radomir Naumov with the high dinstinctions of the Serbian Orthodox Church - the order of Saint Sava of the Second Degree at the solemn reception at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on 29 December 2014.
The solemn award ceremony was attended by the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops: His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Their Graces Bishops Lavrentije of Shabac, Hrizostom of Zvornik-Tuzla and Teodosije of Rasko-Prizrenski, as well as protopresbyter Dr. Savo Jovic, chief secretary of the Holy Synod.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus received Dr. Mladen Ivanic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on 24 December 2014.
The audience was also attended by Dr. Ranko Skrbich, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mrs. Natasha Zirojevich, Chief of the cabinet of the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Information Service of the Serbian Orthodox Church congratulates the feast of the birth of the Divine God-Child to believers and prelates of the Christian churches which celebrate Christmas on December 25.
CHRIST IS BORN! - HE IS BORN INDEED!
On the basis of a Memorandum that was signed by His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej and His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia in Belgrade on 15 November 2014, and with the blessing of both, Russian and Serbian Patriarchs, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department for External Church Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate, paid a working visit to R. Macedonia from 19 – 20 December 2014.
His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion visited Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje Jovan, who for the sake of this meeting, was temporary transferred from the prison of Idrizovo to the Skopje hospital “Mother Theresa” on 20 December. After these talks, Archbishop Jovan was returned back to the prison.
On the same day Metropolitan Hilarion, accompanied by Mr. Oleg Scherbak, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to R. Macedonia, met with President of the R. Macedonia Mr. Djordje Ivanov. Following this meeting, chairman of the DECR talked with President of the Government of the R. Macedonia Mr. Nikola Gruevski and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Nikola Popovski. Ultimately, Metropolitan Hilarion also met with the head of the self-proclaimed, non-canonical Macedonian Orthodox Church Kyr Stephen.
While in Skopje, His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion led these talks guided by the concern for unity of the Church, its salvific mission and salvation of the baptized souls in FYR Macedonia, and with respect to the perspective of regulating the canonical status of the Church in this area as well as to the unconditional final release of His Eminence Jovan, Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje, who had been sentenced to hard labor in a manipulated political process.
The Serbian Orthodox Church expresses herewith its deep gratitude to the sister Russian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, and His Eminence Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk for fraternal love and cooperation, for the invested great efforts in the ministry for the canonical order and unity of the Church, as well as towards the release of His Eminence Archbishop Jovan, imprisoned without any reason, and subjected to a cruel regime in prison despite his severely impaired health.
Bishop Irinej of Bachka,
Spokesman of the Serbian Orthodox Church