Middle East Christians seek prayers for peace

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In Egypt, Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, survival is greatest gift they can hope for this Christmas Source: Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly by Judith Sudilovsky In years past, Christmas was a time of festive decorations, warm family gatherings and traditional worship services, but now, the only hope for many Christians in the Middle East this season is that they may be remembered in the Christmas prayers of Christians around the world; that they pray for peace and an end to the violence that … [Read more...]

Archbishop Nathaniel’s Nativity Pastoral Letter 2013

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Source: The Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America PASTORAL LETTER 2013 NATIVITY OF OUR LORD AND GOD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST Dearly Beloved Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics and Devout Faithful of our God-protected Episcopate: Christ is born! Let us glorify Him! By God’s grace, we have come to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks be to him! Christmas is an invitation to us to come to the manger wherein rests the infant Messiah and to make ourselves to be like little … [Read more...]

Fasting for Non-Monastics

Fr Sergei Sveshnikov

Source: Blog of Fr. Sergei Sveshnikov ST. HERMAN’S ORTHODOX YOUTH CONFERENCE, MULINO, OR 22-26 DECEMBER 2013  INTRODUCTION A curious phenomenon can be observed in the interactions between pastors and their parishioners at the beginning of each major fast of the Church. Pastors attempt to call their parishioners’ pious attention to the spiritual heights of fasting: the fighting against sin, the conquering of passions, the taming of the tongue, the cultivation of virtues. In turn, … [Read more...]

Orthodox Christian belief rises among Russians – poll

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Source: RIA Novostil MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) – The proportion of Russians who consider themselves Orthodox Christians has risen four-fold in the past 24 years, according to a new survey. Two out of three Russians now regard themselves as Orthodox Christians compared to just one in six in 1989, when the Soviet Union was nearing dissolution. The poll of 1,603 people by the independent Levada Center found that 68 percent described themselves as Orthodox Christian now, up from 17 … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church Seeks to Heal Centuries-Old Schism

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Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church said Friday it would discuss a draft document that will “heal” a schism with some of the smaller Russian Christian denominations known collectively as Old Believers. An expert on religions in Russia hailed the document as a “timely” effort by the increasingly powerful Russian Orthodox Church, but some of the Old Believers rejected the initiative, claiming it will not redeem centuries of … [Read more...]

Religious tensions set aside to renovate Church of the Nativity; cooperation viewed as ‘a miracle’

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Source: Religion News Service / Staten Island Real Time News BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Two weeks before Christmas, one of the most powerful storms to hit the Middle East in a century dumped several inches of snow on the hills of Bethlehem. In addition to shuttering schools and businesses, the storm caused runoff to trickle down the walls of the Church of the Nativity, built above the traditional birthplace of Jesus. Fortunately, the water damage was relatively minor, church officials say, … [Read more...]

Agape and Elpida for The Neediest

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Source: The National Herald By Theodore Kalmoukos BOSTON, MA – An effort started some six years ago by Dr. Maria Koulmanda, a prominent physician, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School in the fields of children’s diabetes and transplantation, has developed into an officially-recognized nonprofit organization. “Agape and Elpida,” which stands for “Love and Hope” 501 (c) (3) is the new philanthropic organization in Boston which gives “love and hope” to the heroes of this … [Read more...]

Archbishop Demetrios Expresses Concern over Rhetoric to Convert Hagia Sophia into a Mosque

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese (GOA)

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America NEW YORK – His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, expressed his grave concern over current rhetoric by some Turkish state officials regarding the intention to convert the historic Hagia Sophia (the magnificent 6th-century Orthodox Christian Cathedral of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople) from a museum to a functioning mosque. Such a step might be interpreted as an expression of … [Read more...]

Russian Orthodox Church Gives Flamboyant Crooner Top Award

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Source: RIA Novosti MOSCOW, December 18 (RIA Novosti) – The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church presented the nation’s answer to Frank Sinatra with a top award on Wednesday for his public service, adding to the flamboyant now-lawmaker’s already glittering array of decorations. Patriarch Kirill awarded Joseph Kobzon, who has in the past been denied a US visa over his purported links to organized crime, the Order of Glory and Honor second degree for the crooner’s work in “developing national … [Read more...]

Archpastoral Nativity Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Tikhon

Orthodox Church in America (OCA)

Source: Orthodox Church in America To the Honorable Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America, My Beloved Brethren and Blessed Children in the Lord, Christ is Born! Glorify Him! Today, as we proclaim with joyous hearts that “God is With Us,” we give glory to God for the Feast of the Nativity in the Flesh of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. At the same time, we are surrounded by a host of images, symbols, icons, and representations of what … [Read more...]