Hundreds Penza citizens celebrate Orthodox Christmas night in churches
Penza, 7 January 2016. PenzaNews. Several hundreds of believers have met Orthodox Christmas in Penza churches at midnight into Thursday, January 7. The Divine Lithurgy at the Cathedral of the Assumption was led by the Archbishop Serafim of Penza and Nizhny Novgorod.
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He was assisted by Mitred Archpriest Sergiy Loskutov, hegumen of the Assumption Cathedral and secretary of the Penza diocese; Joann Yavorsky, hegumen of the Pokrovsky Hegumen Cathedral and chairman of the construction department of the Penza diocese; as well as Archpriest Andrei Shirshakov, celibate deacon Sergiy (Zaychikov), priest Ilya Popkov, sacristan of the Cathedral of the Assumption Victor Storozhev, senior deacons Vladimir Krasnenkov and Konstantin Kuzminykh, and deacon Sergiy Surkov.
The communion service was graced by the choir of the Assumption Cathedral led by Olga Gorsheneva.
The congregation at the Liturgy featured several officials, such as the deputy chairman of the regional government Vasily Trokhin and the first vice-mayor Vladimir Popkov.
After the Holy Service, the Archbishop read the Christmas address from His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
In particular, the Patriarch in his address notes that Christmas is a reminder to relentlessly pursue Christ “who came to us so that we had a life and had plenty.”
“By following Him, a man opposes the worldly passions, does not yield to temptations, and strike down with resolve the barriers of sin that block the way. For it is the sin that estranges us from the God and makes our lives bitter and painful indeed. For it is the sin that eclipses the light of God’s love, plunging us into disasters a plenty and diabolizing our hearts against other men. But the sole way to defeat the sin is by the blessing of Holy Spirit graced to us through the church. The power of God, once perceived by us, transforms our inner world and helps change the outer world in accordance to God’s will. And thus those who drop away from the spiritual union, like withered trees, lose the potency to bear truly good fruit,” reads the address.