Peace from God! Christ is Born!
In all churches of our Holy Church in our country and abroad merry feast days of the Nativity of the Lord were celebrated festively and liturgically.
Sumadija - On Christmas Eve, before the birth of the Son of God, in the Cathedral church of the Assumption of the Most Holy Mother of God, His Grace Bishop Jovan of Sumaidja served the vigil service in the presence of many believers of Kragujevac and surroundings. Solem Christmas Liturgy was served by Bishop Jovan of Sumadija with the concelebration of the brotherhood of the church.
Novi Sad – On Christmas Eve at the Episcopal Palace in Novi Sad on behalf of his brothers priests, protopresbyter-staurophor Nedeljko Zubovic congratulated Bishop Irinej of Backa the feast day of the Nativity of Christ. On the feast day of the Birth of Our Jesus Christ, Bishop Irinej conducted the service of God in the Cathedral church in Novi Sad. On the second day of Christmas it is a custom that Bishop of Backa serves in the church of the Holy Dormition of the Theotokos, the only church devoted to Theotokos in Novi Sad. On the third day of Christmas, on the feast day of Saint First Martyr and Hierodeacon Stephen, Bishop Irinej served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in Novi Sad's church of Saint George.
Diocese of Valjevo – The feast day of the Nativity of the Lord also this year was celebrated liturgically throughout the Diocese of Valjevo. It was festive in the Obrenovac's church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles, as well as in Ub, Osecina, Plusac, Pecka and Mionica.
Vranje - His Grace Bishop Pahomije of Vranje blessed Yule logs (badnjaks), at first at the Monastery of St. Prohor of Pcinja, and then in Bujanovac where more than two thousand Orthodox Serbs brought their Yule logs in the courtyard of the church Sts. Apostles Peter and Paul. Celebration of Christmas Eve Bishop Pahomije concluded with blessing of the Yule logs in front of the Cathedral Church of Holy Trinity in Vranje, where he conducted the Divine Liturgy next day.
Nis - On the feast day of the Nativity of Jesus Christ His Grace Bishop Jovan of Nis served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Cathedral church of Nis with the concelebration of priests of the city of Nis. On the second day of Christmas, when we celebrate the Most Holy Virgin Mary who gave birth to Our Saviour Jesus Christ, Bishop Jovan visited Pirot and at the church of the Nativity of Christ served the Divine Liturgy.
Kosovo and Metohija - On Christmas Eve Bishop Teodosije of Raska-Prizren served the Divine Liturgy in the church of St. Demetrius in Kosovska Mitrovica. Marking the Christmas Eve in Plemetina and Priluzje began with the liturgy which was served by parish priest Miloje Petronijevic in the church of St. Prince Lazar in Plemetina. Before about hundred believers in the monastery of Gracanica blessing and placing Yule logs was conducted. PProtopresbyter-staurophor Randjel Denic blessed the Yule logs with the concelebration of the priests of the Gracanica monastery. President Boris Tadic participated in the solemn celebration of Christmas in the Visoki Decani monastery. President of Serbia and his councellors Mladjan Djordjevic and Damjan Krnjevic was welcomed by Bishop Teodosije, abbot of the monastery archimandrite Sava, monks and several dozens of guests who came to spend Christmas holiday in Visoki Decani. President Tadic bowed to the relics of St. King Stephen of Decani. The Holy Liturgy was attended ,besides the President of Serbia, minister for Kosovo and Metohija Goran Bogdanovic and counsellors of President Tadic, also by high international representatives in Kosovo: KFOR Commander German general Erhard Drews, EU Special Representative in Kosovo Fernando Gentalini and OSCE ambassador Werner Almhofer, chiefs and representatives of the diplomatic offices of the USA, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, as well as representatives of the Italian KFOR, carabinieri etc. In the monastery of Visoki Decani there are members of the Association of the Friends of the monastery of Visoki Decani led by Alessandro Di Meo (who was baptized on Christmas), Francesco Scarfi and Fabio Franceschini, who visited in previous days many Serbian enclaves and presented humanitarian help.
Podgorica - His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral with priests and pious people on Christmas served the Divine Liturgy in the crypt of the Cathedral Church of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in Podgorica. The Metropolitan on next day, the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos served the Divine Liturgy in Moraca monastery. On the feast day of Saint First Martyr and Hierodeacon Stephen Amfilohije served in Duljevo monastery on the occasion of the church slava of this sacred place.
Diocese of Budimlje-Niksic - His Grace Bishop Joanikije of Budimlje-Niksic served on Christmas Eve the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral church of St. Basil of Ostrog in Niksic. Yule logs were traditionally placed in Plav, Pluzine, Savnik, Andrijevica, Murine, Mojkovac, Zabljak, Bijelo Polje, Rozaje and Niksic, as well as in the monasteries of Piva, Zupa Niksicka, Djurdjevi Stupovi, Kosijerevo and Bijela. On the feast day of the Nativity of Jesus Christ Bishop Joanikije served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in Djurdjevi Stupovi monastery.
Bosanski Petrovac - On the feast day of the Nativity of Jesus Christ His Grace Bishop Hrizostom of Bihac-Petrovac served the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in the Cathedral church of Sts. Apostles Peter and Paul in Bosanski Petrovac. Christmas days were celebrated solemnly with liturgical gathering in Babici, Koprivna, Kozice, Sokolovici, Sipovo, Vodjenica, Sanski Most as well as monasteries of Klisina and Rmanj.
Zagreb - The vigil service in Cathedral church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in Zagreb was served on Christmas Eve by His Eminence Metropolitan Jovan of Zagreb-Ljubljana. The vigil was attended by many believers and also by President of the Republic of Croatia Ivo Josipovic and President of the Government Zoran Milanovic. After the blessing of the Yule log, Metropolitan Jovan greeted the high guests with words: - Christmas that is coming opens new hopes for better and merrier future. Peace from God! Christ is Born! The Liturgy was attended also by representatives of the Serbs in Croatia, ambassador of Serbia Stanimir Vukicevic, Mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandic. The Christmas Liturgy Metropolitan Jovan served in the Transfiguration church and it had live broadcast on the Croatian Radio-Television (HRT). The Liturgy was attended by mayor of Zagreb Milan Bandic and basketball team Radnicki from Kragujevac.
Karlovac – The Holy Hierarchal Liturgy, which was served in the St. Nicholas' s Church in Karlovac by Bishop Gerasim of Gornji Karlovac, was attended also by President of Croatia Ivo Josipovic. In the presence of Orthodox people of Karlovac and surroundings, mayor Damir Jelic, ambassador of Serbia Stanimir Vukicevic and President of SNC Milorad Pupovac, President Josipovic congratulated the feast day of the Nativity of the Lord and wished the fast ending of the works of the restoration of Karlovac's Cathedral church.
Dalmatia - On Christmas Eve in early morning hours unknown perpetrators committed an attempt of burning the church's door of the church of Sts. Cyrill and Methodius in Kistanje. On Christmas Eve His Grace Bishop Fotije of Dalmatia served the Divine Liturgy in the Cathedral Church in Sibenik. In this church on Christmas Eve the Bishop blessed and shared the Yule logs to the Orthodox people of Sibenik and surroundings. On Christmas Bishop Fotije served the Holy Liturgy with All Night vigil in the monastery of Krka. On the feast day of Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos Bishop Fotije served the Holy Liturgy in Knin.
Herzegovina – His Grace Bishop Grigorije of Zahumlje-Herzegovina served on Christmas the Divine Liturgy in the Old church in Mostar. Retired Bishop Atanasije of Herzegovina conducted the Christmas liturgical gathering in the Cathedral church in Trebinje.
Sweden – It was specially festive on Christmas Eve in the church of Sts. Cyrill and Methodius in Malme where in the presence of many faithful people, priest Milan Gardovic blessed the Yule logs.
Australia - His Grace Bishop Irinej of Australia and New Zealand served on Christmas Eve the Holy Hierarchal Liturgy in St. George's church in St. Albans, as well as vigil service with blessing of Yule logs in the church of St. Sava in Greensborough. The Christmas Liturgy Bishop Irinej served in the Cathedral church of Holy Trinity in Bransweek. On the feast day of the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos Bishop Irinej served in the monastery of St. Sava in Elaine. On the following day, His Grace led the Liturgy in the church of St. Stephen in Keysborough.
California – Bishop Maksim of Western America spent the Christmas Eve with parishioners of the church of Christ the Saviour in Californian city of Arcadia.
Canada - His Grace Bishop Georgije of Canada served on Christmas Eve the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great in the monastery of the Transfiguration in Milton.
Archbishopric of Ohrid – The feast day of the Nativity of Jesus Christ was celebrated throughout the Orthodox Ohrid Archbishopric, the persecuted church whose canonical head, His Beatitude Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skopje kyr kyr Jovan, imprisoned again under false charges. On the feast day of the NAtivity of Jesus Christ His Grace Bishop Joakim of Polog-Kumanovo served in Kumanovo, His Grace Bishop Marko of Bregalnica served in Stip, and vicar Bishop David of Stobi in Skopje.