Orthodox Christians of the whole world celebrate a bright holiday of Christmas. Despite the situation with the coronavirus pandemic, in many countries the Christmas actions which passed with observance of some restrictions, had taken place. In Turkmenistan Divine liturgies took place in the closed format, and believers met Christmas home with their families.
– The Christmas celebration adjoins to sacrament, therefore it is better for families to gather and support each other with kind words, – John Kopach, an archpriest of the Ashkhabad temple of Alexander Nevsky says. – This holiday has a spiritual character and inspires us for all the good. Let hardship be left in the past, lacks, fears and loneliness. Talk to close people, pay them attention or read a prayer, after all, the prayer is a dialogue with God.
According to the evangelical legend, in the night from 6 to January 7, in the ancient city of Bethlehem Maiden Maria gave birth to her son Jesus. The saviour was born in a shed, and the feeding trough for sheep became his first cradle. During this historical moment in the sky the bright Bethlehem star which became Christmas symbol lighted up.
ORIENT annually highlights Christmas celebration. In 2020 parishioners celebrated a holiday in solemn conditions, by all church canons. And this year Christmas nightlong vigil became an occasion to a house prayer and preparation of food.
– Each nationality prepares traditional celebratory dishes in advance. – Turkmenistan is a multinational country and the basic dish of Christmas – parishioners cook the sochivo according to folk customs and tastes, – John Kopach tells. – From my own part I want to wish that believers never loose heart and set for the good path. There is such expression: «If a person’s eyes looks for bad things, then all his life will be dark, and if he looks for good things, then his life will be also bright». Look at the world with good intention and it should bring you good for sure.
Addressing to some traditions of celebrating of Christmas, we will glance at other countries. In Turkey with cross immersing the ceremony of rites for blessing holy water is annually held at sea. This year in Istanbul patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople blessed water in the bay «Gold Horn». It is considered that the one who first touches the cross, will receive blessing and protection against evil ghosts, therefore believers, making a heat, hasten to catch a sacred relic.
The similar ceremony exists in the Armenian Apostolic Church – in memory of christening of Jesus Christ in the river Jordan. The people have got a phrase «the cross in water falls» means that the Saviour has blessed with the christening water.
Temples of Greece met a holiday with the open doors, all who wish to be present in the Divine service could visit a solemn liturgy with observance of epidemiological norms.
The Russian Orthodox Church recommended elderly parishioners to remain home for Christmas. As patriarch Cyril told: «It is mortally dangerous, when people do not believe in God, the same as today it is dangerous, if people do not trust in infection spread and do not protect themselves from it».