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Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/orthodox-christians-celebrate-christmas/id_33890/catid_70 Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas 19:45 Wed 07 Jan 2009 - Rene
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2009
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      http://www.sofiaecho.com/article/orthodox-christians-celebrate-christmas/id_33890/catid_70

      Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas
      19:45 Wed 07 Jan 2009 - Rene Beekman

      Amidst the natural gas crisis, Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem,
      Russia, Serbia, Georgia, Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, and the
      Ukraine, among others, celebrated Christmas on January 7, following
      to the Julian calendar.

      According to Reuters, because of the gas crisis between Russia and
      Ukraine, in the Balkans, people celebrated Orthodox Christmas in
      churches lit by candles and scrambled to find alternative sources of
      heat for their homes.

      Reuters quoted Serbian officials as saying they had no more natural
      gas reserves and that tens of thousands of people were without
      heating when most were at home to celebrate Orthodox Christmas.

      Serbian Orthodox Church leader His Holiness Patriarch Pavle warned in
      his Christmas message that the world economic crisis is a result of
      hidden spiritual and moral crisis, Serbian broadcaster B92 said.

      "It is true that the economic crisis is tied to the political crisis,
      and that the lack of respect for international law and ignoring the
      United Nations human rights charter have given birth to the political
      crisis, as well as this economic crisis and financial chaos," B92
      quoted Patriarch Pavle as saying.

      Patriarch Pavle issued a special greeting to Serb Christians in
      Kosovo and Metohija, B92 said.

      Russian president Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Russians on Orthodox
      Christmas, Russian news agency RIA Novosti said.

      "Over many centuries this festival has given people the unfailing
      light of faith, hope and love. Christmas festivities bring
      conciliation, good intentions, mercy and mutual respect into our
      lives," RIA Novosti quoted a Kremlin media statement.

      Christmas services at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in central
      Moscow were led by Metropolitan Kirill, interim leader of the Russian
      Orthodox Church since the death of Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
      Alexy II in December.

      Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church HH Stefan conducted the main
      liturgy at Skopje Church St. Kliment Ohridski, Macedonian news agency
      Mina said.

      The Head of the Macedonian Orthodox Church, Archbishop of Ohrid and
      Macedonia HH Stefan sent out a Christmas message for peace and God's
      blessing to Orthodox believers, Mina news agency said.

      Orthodox churches of Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, Greece,
      Cyprus, Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria adopted the New Julian Calendar
      in 1923 (though Bulgaria only in 1963), which synchronised Orthodox
      holidays with the Gregorian calendar that was in general use.

      In these countries, Christmas is celebrated on December 25.
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