JERUSALEM: January 12, 2021
Nativity of Christ celebrations in the Holy Land
MOUNT OF OLIVES
On the morning of January 6, 2021, on the eve of the Nativity of our Lord, the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) performed the “Royal Hours” and Vespers with the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great in the church of the Ascension of the Lord in the monastery of the same name on the holy Mount of Olives. Fr. Roman was co-served by Archimandrite Vasily (Druzhinets), Igumen Iona (Galishnikov) and Deacon Vyacheslav Batalsky. The abbess of the monastery, mother Barbara (Novikova) along with the sisters of the convent, prayed at the services. The choir sang under the direction of rassaphore nun Mastridia. At the end of the Liturgy, the priests solemnly carried the icon of the Nativity of Christ to the middle of the church accompanied by the singing of the troparion and kontakion of the feast
Traditionally in the Holy Land, Nativity Matins and Divine Liturgy are celebrated at midnight. Great Compline with the chanting of “God is with us” and the litya are served in the evening.
In the church of the Equal to the Apostles St. Mary Magdalene, at five o’clock on the of the eve of the feast, Hieromonk Theodore (Kirike) with Hierodeacon Gerasim (Kotovsky) served Great Compline, after which the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) went out to the narthex to serve the litya with the blessing of loaves. Compline ended with a dismissal after which Fr Roman distributed the blessed bread with wine to the sisters.
At 12:00 midnight, at the exclamation “Glory to the Holy, and Consubstantial, and Life-giving, and Inseparable Trinity…” the choir solemnly began to sing the small doxology “Glory to God in the Highest.” The head of the Mission performed a complete censing of the church and the worshipers. Then the Six Psalms were read and the usual order of Matins was served. At the Polyeleos the aforementioned clergy along with Hieromonk Misail (Minaev) and Fr John Mandic proceded to the icon of the feast and glorified the great celebration with the singing af the “Megalynarion”. Then the gospel story of the Nativity of Christ was read.
At the end of Matins, immediately after the singing of the Great Doxology and the troparion of the feast, the Divine Liturgy began. Abbess Elisabeth (Smelic) and her sisters prayed at the service.
ST ALEXANDER NEVSKY PODVORIE
With the blessing of the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem (ROCOR), Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), Divine Liturgy on the feast of the Nativity of Christ, was celebrated by a priest of the REM, Fr. Roman Gultyaev, at St Alexander Nevsky Church in the Old City of Jerusalem.
By tradition, in all churches and monasteries in the Holy Land, Christmas Liturgies are celebrated at night, so many parents with small children and elderly people are not able to participate in the festive service. Taking into account the requests of many parishioners of the REM, the ROCOR in Jerusalem will now annually hold morning Liturgies for Christmas in St Alexander Nevsky Church.
This year, despite the quarantine, the Israeli authorities allowed a limited number of Orthodox believers to take part in the Christmas Liturgy. In the church of St Alexander Nevsky, a choir of chidren and parishioners sang at the service under the direction of Nun Alexandra, a resident of the convent of St Mary Magdalene. In the altar,Fr Roman Gultyaev was served by boys, children of parishioners.
After the service, everyone was invited to a festive breakfast.
The Russian Ecclesiastical Mission of the ROCOR regularly performs services in St Alexander Nevsky Church in Jerusalem. Traditionally, on Thursdays at 8:00 am, Liturgy is served in memory of the late Emperor Alexander III. On Wednesday eve at 17:00 a prayer service is served with the Akathist to the Blessed Prince Alexander Nevsky. This year the Mission will be celebrating Liturgies on Saturdays for those who cannot attend church on Sundays..