BELGRADE – Orthodox Christians all over the world mark Christmas Eve on Wednesday. Christians conclude a four-week fast during which they confess their sins and receive communion.
And on Christmas Eve they have special fasting, “until the first star,” in memory of how the Magi came first to the birthplace of Christ following the movement of the star in the sky. At present, a candle in front of the altar, which is lit at the end of the Christmas Eve service at about noon, symbolizes the star.
With the traditional greeting: “Peace be with you, Christ is born!”, Serbian Patriarch Irinej together with priests and monks of the Serbian Orthodox Church wished a merry Christmas to all celebrating the holiday according to the Julian calendar, with the message that we should not allow anyone to divide us on any grounds.
In his Christmas message, Patriarch Irinej says that today, more than ever, we need peace in the world and goodwill among peoples.
“We are sending special greetings to our brothers and sisters in our Kosovo-Metohija, in our spiritual cradle. We pray to God to encourage them and make them firmer in their commitment to stay loyal to the vows of our holy ancestors,”reads the message sent to the media.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia will recite Christmas Eve liturgy the Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow. The festive Christmas service recalls the great event that marked the beginning of a new era for mankind. At the moment of birth of Godman God’s grace touched every person, every family line, and from that time the person has the opportunity to accept the gift. Festive services are to be held at night and in the morning in almost 30, 000 churches of the Russian Orthodox Church worldwide.
Christmas on January 7 is celebrated by the Russian, Georgian and Jerusalem Orthodox Churches.