On January 7 the Russian Orthodox Church observes feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, also known as Christmas. Our St. George Church had a nice celebration of that holy day. Most of our parishioners as well as some visitors came to the temple to participate in the services.
On January 6, on Christmas Eve, our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the All-Night Vigil. That service had been conducted in our parish for the first time in many years. It consists of the Great Compline, Matins and the First Hour. The choir prayerfully performed different hymns of the feast during those special services at night. On Christmas day, January 7, our Rector served the Divine Liturgy.
During the preparation for Holy Communion at the Liturgy the choir beautifully performed different liturgical hymns of the Nativity.
After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and altar servers performed the rite of glorification singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the Nativity before the festal icon in the middle of the church. Following the Liturgy the Rector greeted the faithful on the occasion of the great holy day of the birth of the Son of God. He preached a sermon (both in English and Russian) about the significance of God’s Incarnation. He pointed out that such a great mystery of God becoming Man is beautifully described in our Church hymns. For instance, the Hirmos of the 9th Ode of the Nativity Canon says, “A strange, most glorious mystery I behold! Heaven-the cave! The cherubic throne-the Virgin! The manger-the place where Christ lay, the uncontainable God…” Heaven which is unsurpassable becomes contained in the cave of Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The Virgin Mary, although She is Holy, She was an earthly woman, yet She became the cherubic throne bearing God. The manger where Jesus the Child was laid became a place for infinite God! God had humiliated Himself and condescended to this world. All this was done for our salvation. Therefore, we have to be worthy of that great manifestation of God’s love. Our faith has to be firm, our prayer has to be fervent, and our spiritual life has to be zealous. We cannot be lukewarm, for God despises such spiritual attitude, but to be ardent in our faith and life in Christ.
Our celebration continued at the trapeza table where a delicious luncheon was prepared by our parishioners. Before the luncheon began our Warden, Olga Roussanow had a speech in which she congratulated our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov on the occasion of his 30th Anniversary of priestly ordination. Traditional Polychronion (“Mnogaia leta!”) to Fr. Igor was proclaimed. Then the Rector and parishioners enjoyed delicious meals and a nice company. The toasts to the Rector and parishioners were raised during the luncheon. Fr. Igor and our choir singer, Tetiana Migal enjoyed singing several Ukrainian Christmas carols.