Hundreds Penza citizens celebrate Orthodox Christmas night in churches
Penza, 7 January 2017. PenzaNews. Several hundreds of believers met Orthodox Christmas in Penza churches at midnight into Saturday, January 7. The Divine Lithurgy at the Cathedral of the Assumption was led by the Archbishop Serafim of Penza and Nizhny Novgorod.
Photo: I. Shkolin, Пензенская-епархия.рф
He was assisted by Mitred Archpriest Sergiy Loskutov, hegumen of the Assumption Cathedral, priests Ilya Popkov, Vladimir Olkhov, Victor Storozhev, Sergiy Sokolov, senior deacons Vladimir Krasnenkov, Dionisiy Sushko, Konstantin Kuzminykh, and deacon Rostislav Gorshenev.
Divine psalms were performed by the choir of the Assumption Cathedral led by Olga Gorsheneva.
The congregation at the Liturgy featured the governor of the Penza region Ivan Belozertsev, the regional prosecutor Natalia Kantserova, the head of the internal policy department of the Penza region government Alexander Yelatontsev, the deputy chairman of the Penza region government Vasily Trokhin, and the deputy head of the Penza administration Vladimir Popkov.
After the Holy Service, the Archbishop read the Christmas message from His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia.
The Patriarch in his message notes that it is important that the Christian ideals are implemented in everyday life through service to our neighbours.
“Let us be attentive to each other by encouraging to love and good deeds. Overcoming conflicts and discrimination, we bring into the world the most persuasive sermon about the born Saviour and our actions testify to the unusual beauty and the spiritual strength of the Orthodox faith. We entered the 2017 year. One hundred years separates us from the events that greatly changed the life of Russia, the great multinational country, and plunged it into the madness of the civil war when children raised against parents and brothers fought with each other. The following losses and sorrows, which our people overcame, were predetermined to a large extent by the demolition of the millennial statehood and the fight with the people’s religious beliefs, which led to serious split in the society,” reads the message.
The Patriarch also added that there were a lot of difficulties in the last decades and that they still exist, and that the experience of the past century “taught us a lot and should warn us against many things”.
When the Liturgy was over, the Archbishop Serafim congratulated everyone on Christmas and wished that God would live in the heart of every person, and that everyone would have time for repentance and gladness.
The governor Ivan Belozertsev presented the Archbishop Serafim a congratulatory message and the Icon of The Holy Trinity.
The head of the region congratulated everyone on Christmas and gave a special notice to the fact that this holiday unites millions of Orthodox people around the world.
“Today as the father, husband, and grandfather, I prayed sincerely for my family, and as the governor – for the Penza region and for the people who live here, hoping that angels would spread their wings over this land. I prayed that we do not have wars and catastrophes, that people do not die, that each family and the soul of each person had peace,” Ivan Belozertsev said.