Christimas is celebrated throughout Serbia

Serbian Orthodox Christians are on January 7 celebrating Christmas, one of Christianity's most important holidays that marks the birth of Jesus Christs.

Source: B92, Tanjug

Beside the Serbian Orthodox Church, the Russian, Georgian, and Macedonian churches also celebrate the holiday according to the Julian calendar, as does the Jerusalem Patriarchate and the Copts.

A large number of citizens gathered in Belgrade's St. Sava Temple for midnight liturgy last night, where Bishop Arsenije led the service.

Patriarch Irinej served liturgy this morning in the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel in Belgrade, and the evening prayer in St. Sava's Temple last night.

He also led a ceremony late on Tuesday to consecrate the badnjak log - a unique Serbian Christmas tradition, that involves the cutting and burning of an oak branch or log.

The head of the Serbian Orthodox Church said the ritual symbolized the great holiday of the birth of Christ, and said the badnjak was "an ancient symbol," adding that "many wonder how it originally came to be."

"It is a custom we inherited from ancient times, when our ancestors were members of a different religion. They had the badnjak as a symbol of their faith," the patriarch said, in reference to the Serbs' pagan Slavic roots.

The fire from a badnjak "develops great warmth and light and this was taken as a symbol of Christ that inspires us with the fire of love and the light of truth," he told those gathered for the burning of the badnjak in Belgrade, and added that the ritual was also "a wonderful and good symbol of unity and family life."

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are celebrated in churches, public places, and in homes throughout the country.

The morning liturgy in the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel was attended by President Tomislav Nikolic, Justice Minister Nikola Selakovic, Crown Prince Aleksandar Karadjordjevic and his wife, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Belgrade Stanislav Hocevar, and many citizens.

B92 wishes a merry Christmas to all Christians who celebrate this Wednesday.

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