Orthodox Serbs mark Christmas Eve

BELGRADE -- Serbia's majority Orthodox Christians are on Monday marking Christmas Eve by attending liturgies in churches and temples across the country and abroad.

(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

Serbia's majority Orthodox Christians are on Monday marking Christmas Eve by attending liturgies in churches and temples across the country and abroad.

SPC Patriarch Irinej will attend the burning of the Badnjak, a ceremonial oak log or branch - a Serb custom associated with Christmas rituals - in front of St. Sava's temple in Belgrade.

He will then lead evening services in the temple.

On Christmas Day, the patriarch will serve liturgy in the Cathedral Church of St. Michael the Archangel.

In his message on Friday, Irinej noted the significance of the holiday:

"Today, as we celebrate the Nativity of the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, above all let us forgive one another and let us say brother to brother: 'Peace from God! Christ is born!' Let us show that we can be and that we are people of God’s love, people who amid all the temptations of this age can be faithful and honorable."

Christmas, December 25 in the Julian calendar, corresponds to January 7 in the Gregorian calendar.

The Julian calendar is also used by the Russian, Macedonian, and Georgian churches, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, on Mt. Athos, and by the Orthodox Copts.