According to the very old tradition of the Church of Jerusalem, the feast of Christ’s incarnation has been celebrated in Bethlehem, the birthplace of our Lord Jesus Christ since the 4th century A.D.
Likewise, on Friday 24th December 206 / 6th January 2017, after the customary visit of the Police of Jerusalem at the Patriarchate, with the Orthodox scouts leading the way and under the sound of bells tolling, the Hagiotaphite Entourage, led by His Beatitude the Patriarch of Jerusalem, headed towards Jaffa Gate. There, the entourage members boarded the vehicles and preceding the police escort went to the Holy Monastery of Prophet Elijah which is located halfway between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
On Monday 27th December 2016 / 9th January 2017, the memory of St. Stephen the First Martyr was celebrated at the Patriarchate. St. Stephen was one of the seven deacons elected by the Apostles to help them with their social work of common meals (Acts 6:2-7).
During the final 2016 meeting of the Holy Synod of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on December 29, chancellor Metropolitan Anthony of Boryspil and Brovary presented on the life of the Church over the last year, writes the Information Department of the Ukrainain Orthodox Church.
According to the hierarch, three new monasteries were created in the UOC in 2016:
In honor of the great feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, we present here a collection of Nativity encyclicals from some of our Orthodox primates from around the world, which help to expound upon the depth of meaning of the feast and to draw our hearts and minds to greater attention and devotion to the Lord and His saving will for us.
B A R T H O L O M E W
By God’s Mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
to the Plenitude of the Church
Grace, Mercy and Peace from the Savior Christ Born in Bethlehem
January 22, 2017 marks the 44th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the United States, and Orthodox Christians from across the US will be among those gathering in the US Capital on Friday, January 27 to participate in the annual March for Life. [Due to the inauguration of President-Elect Donald Trump, this year’s March will be held one week later than usual. Sanctity of Life Sunday, however, will not be affected, and will be observed on January 15.]
On 31st December 2016, His Beatitude Theodoros II, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, received in his Private and Patriarchal Office, as is customary, His Eminence Narkissos Metropolitan of Accra, Patriarchal Vicar of Alexandria, His Grace Agathonikos, Bishop of Arusha and Central Tanzania and the Clergy of the Patriarchate and of the Holy Archdiocese of Alexandria, who sang carols and conveyed their festive wishes. Then carols were sung by the Patriarchal staff, to whom His Beatitude gave gifts and blessings.