Δευτέρα, 25 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

Orthodox Christmas 2017 in Africa!



 
Icon of Nativity from here (Orthodox Metropolis of Zambia & Malawi)

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The Gospel from the Orthodox Holy Liturgy of Christmas Day in English, Russian, Portuguese and Arabic 


Matthew 2:1-12
2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem,
2 saying, “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
5 And they said unto him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
6 ‘And thou, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the young child, and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.”
9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and lo, the star which they saw in the East went before them until it came and stood over where the young Child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts: gold and frankincense and myrrh.

12 And being warned by God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

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Photo: Christmas Service in the Cathedral of Agia Triada in Harare

От Матфея 2:1-12
Восточные мудрецы поклоняются Иисусу
2 Иисус родился в иудейском городе Вифлееме во времена правления царя Ирода[a]. После рождения Иисуса в Иерусалим пришли мудрецы с востока. 2 Они спрашивали людей:

– Где новорожденный Царь иудеев? Мы видели Его звезду на востоке[b] и пришли поклониться Ему.
3 Услышав об этом, царь Ирод встревожился, а с ним и весь Иерусалим. 4 Он созвал к себе всех первосвященников и учителей Закона и спросил их, где должен был родиться Христос.
5 – В иудейском Вифлееме, – ответили ему, – потому что так написано у пророка:
6 «И ты, Вифлеем, в земле Иудеи,
ты вовсе не наименьший среди главных городов Иудеи.
Из тебя выйдет Правитель,
Который будет пасти народ Мой Израиль»[c].
7 Тогда Ирод тайно пригласил к себе мудрецов и узнал у них точное время появления звезды. 8 Он отослал их в Вифлеем с наказом:
– Идите и тщательно разузнайте все о Младенце. Когда вы Его найдете, известите меня, чтобы и я смог пойти и поклониться Ему.
9 Выслушав наказ царя, они отправились в путь. Звезда, которую они видели на востоке[d], шла впереди них, пока наконец не остановилась над местом, где был Младенец. 10 Увидев звезду, мудрецы очень сильно обрадовались. 11 Когда они вошли в дом и увидели Младенца и Его мать Марию, они, павши, поклонились Ему и, открыв свои сокровища, поднесли Ему подарки: золото, ладан[e] и смирну[f]. 12 Но во сне они были предупреждены о том, что им нельзя возвращаться к Ироду, и вернулись в свою страну другим путе
 

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ﻣﺘﻰ 2:1-12
حُكَماءٌ مِنَ الشَّرق
2 وَلَمّا وُلِدَ يَسُوعُ فِي مَدِينَةِ بَيتَ لَحْمَ فِي إقلِيمِ اليَهُودِيَّةِ فِي أيّامِ حُكْمِ المَلِكِ هِيرُودُسَ، جاءَ بَعْضُ الحُكَماءِ مِنَ الشَّرْقِ إلَى مَدِينَةِ القُدْسِ، 2 وَسَألُوا: «أينَ هُوَ الطِّفلُ الَّذِي وُلِدَ حَدِيثاً، وَالَّذِي سَيَكُونُ مَلِكَ اليَهُودِ؟ لِأنَّنا رَأينا نَجْمَهُ فِي الشَّرْقِ، وَقَدْ أتَينا لِنَسْجُدَ لَهُ.» 3 فَانزَعَجَ المَلِكُ هِيرُودُسُ عِنْدَما سَمِعَ ذَلِكَ، وَكَذَلِكَ كُلُّ سُكّانِ مَدِينَةِ القُدْسِ. 4 فَجَمَعَ هِيرُودُسُ كُلَّ كِبارِ الكَهَنَةِ وَمُعَلِّمِي الشَّرِيعَةِ، وَسَألَهُمْ عَنْ مَكانِ وِلادَةِ المَسِيحِ. 5 فَقالُوا لَهُ: «فِي مَدِينَةِ بَيتَ لَحْمَ فِي إقليمِ اليَهُودِيَّةِ، لِأنَّ هَذا هُوَ المَكْتُوبُ بِيَدِ النَّبِيِّ:

6 ‹أنتِ يا بَيتَ لَحْمَ الواقِعَةَ فِي أرْضِ اليَهُودِيَّةِ،
لَسْتِ قَلِيلَةَ الأهَمِّيَّةِ بَينَ حُكّامِ يَهُوذا،
لِأنَّهُ مِنْكِ سَيَخْرُجُ حاكِمٌ،
يَرْعَى شَعبِي بَنِي إسْرائِيلَ.›»

7 فَدَعا هِيرُودُسُ الحُكَماءَ وَالْتَقَى بِهِمْ سِرّاً، وَعَرَفَ مِنْهُمُ الوَقْتَ الَّذِي ظَهَرَ فِيهِ النَّجْمُ بِشَكلٍ دَقِيقٍ، 8 ثُمَّ أرْسَلَهُم إلَى مَدِينَةِ بَيتَ لَحْمَ، وَقالَ: «اذْهَبُوا وَابحَثُوا عَنِ الطِّفلِ. وَعِنْدَما تَجِدُونَهُ أخبِرُونِي، حَتَّى آتِيَ أنا أيضاً وَأسجُدَ لَهُ.»
9 فَاسْتَمَعَ الرِّجالُ الحُكَماءُ إلَى المَلِكِ ثُمَّ ذَهَبُوا. وَإذا بِالنَّجمِ الَّذِي رَأوهُ فِي الشَّرْقِ يَسيرُ أمامَهُمْ، حَتَّى جاءَ وَوَقَفَ فَوقَ المَكانِ الَّذِي كانَ فِيهِ الطِّفلُ. 10 فَفَرِحُوا فَرَحاً عَظِيماً عِنْدَما رَأَوْا النَّجْمَ. 11 فَدَخَلُوا المَنزِلَ وَرَأَوْا الطِّفلَ مَعَ مَرْيَمَ أُمِّهِ، فَرَكَعُوا عَلَى الأرْضِ ساجِدِينَ لَهُ. ثُمَّ فَتَحُوا صَنادِيقَ كُنُوزِهِمْ، وَقَدَّمُوا لَهُ هَدايا: ذَهَباً وَبَخُوراً وَمُرّاً. 12 ثُمَّ حَذَّرَهُمُ اللهُ فِي حُلْمٍ مِنَ العَودَةِ إلَى هِيرُودُسَ، فَسافَرُوا إلَى بِلادِهِمْ فِي طَرِيقٍ آخَرَ.

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Christmas Day 2017 in St. Irere Mission, Kenya (from Celebrating Christmas with Love Care for the Little Ones, Kenya

From here
 
Mateus 2:1-12
Os magos do Oriente
2 E, tendo nascido Jesus em Belém da Judeia, no tempo do rei Herodes, eis que uns magos vieram do Oriente a Jerusalém, 2 e perguntaram: Onde está aquele que é nascido rei dos judeus? Porque vimos a sua estrela no Oriente e viemos a adorá-lo. 3 E o rei Herodes, ouvindo isso, perturbou-se, e toda a Jerusalém, com ele. 4 E, congregados todos os príncipes dos sacerdotes e os escribas do povo, perguntou-lhes onde havia de nascer o Cristo. 5 E eles lhe disseram: Em Belém da Judeia, porque assim está escrito pelo profeta: 6 E tu, Belém, terra de Judá, de modo nenhum és a menor entre as capitais de Judá, porque de ti sairá o Guia que há de apascentar o meu povo de Israel. 7 Então, Herodes, chamando secretamente os magos, inquiriu exatamente deles acerca do tempo em que a estrela lhes aparecera. 8 E, enviando-os a Belém, disse: Ide, e perguntai diligentemente pelo menino, e, quando o achardes, participai-mo, para que também eu vá e o adore. 9 E, tendo eles ouvido o rei, partiram; e eis que a estrela que tinham visto no Oriente ia adiante deles, até que, chegando, se deteve sobre o lugar onde estava o menino. 10 E, vendo eles a estrela, alegraram-se muito com grande júbilo. 11 E, entrando na casa, acharam o menino com Maria, sua mãe, e, prostrando-se, o adoraram; e, abrindo os seus tesouros, lhe ofertaram dádivas: ouro, incenso e mirra. 12 E, sendo por divina revelação avisados em sonhos para que não voltassem para junto de Herodes, partiram para a sua terra por outro caminho.


"The message of Christianity and our prayers is to stop warfare as quickly as possible."
"Do not look for Christ in palaces .... A humble hut is enough."
Patriarch of Alexandria & all Africa Theodoros, Christmas 2017, from here & here.

The Patriarch Theodoros (from here)

 THEODOROS II
BY THE GRACE OF GOD POPE AND PATRIARCH
OF ALEXANDRIA, THE ENTIRE LAND OF EGYPT AND ALL AFRICA
TO THE FULNESS
OF THE APOSTOLIC AND PATRIARCHAL THRONE OF ALEXANDRIA
GRACE AND MERCY AND PEACE
FROM OUR LORD AND GOD AND SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST
BORN IN BETHLEHEM.

 
“Today Christ is born in the city of Bethlehem, the heavens are glad and all of creation rejoices”!
My dear brothers and sisters, my children,
Today is the Feast of the Nativity of Christ! The celestial and angelic hymns are heard again. “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all men”. Once again the Church bells ring out on the entire planet, announcing that “a Saviour is born for us today”.
We celebrate, each in his or her own way, God’s great condescension, for the salvation of mankind. His love, will once again teach us in practice, its messages. A God of love and a God of humility.
“He whom nothing can contain” becomes incarnate, to give strength and courage to weak and disappointed humanity. The eternal Lord is born to take the world out of its impasse. A world which thus far does not seem to have heard either the Angelic hymn, nor the message of “peace from above”. Wars, global and civil conflicts, civil wars, terrorism, refugees, uprooting, face us on a daily basis.
God responds to us: He is born humbly, in a beast’s manger. He is warmed by the breath of the animals. He is born in a cave. That is why no one recognized Him, no one understood Him, none of those whose eyes were turned “to earth”

found Him. Only the shepherds “living in the fields”, innocent and humble souls, received an angelic visit and were deemed worthy to be first to see “Him who upholds all” lying in the manger.
Everyone was waiting for Him to come! For centuries Heaven was planning His coming. For centuries, the unruly, sinful, and pathetic generation of mankind, struggled between doubt and ignorance, helplessness and impasse. Thousands of years before, Prophets foresaw and prophesied that which we celebrate today. Philosophers and tragic poets proclaimed his coming.
And Heaven replied! And the Son and Word of God came, “born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law”. Emmanuel was born, so that mankind could see with its own eyes what God is, to touch Him, to mock Him, to deny Him, to betray Him, to condemn Him, to kill Him and to worship Him, Resurrected on the third day. 



The message of the Feast of the Nativity is addressed to us all, my brothers and sisters. Not only today, but every minute, every moment of our lives. We should do it, to experience it, a rule of faith, a sheltered harbor in all the wrecks of our lives. Humanity, as never before, needs to leave human hearts open, keeping them warm and pure, so that Jesus may be born in them. We need not look for Him in palaces and luxurious rooms. A humble shack, like those that are everywhere in Africa is enough. He desperately seeks warmth and comfort. Tonight, God knocks on the door of our heart. Are we going to keep Him waiting?
My brothers and sisters, my blessed children,
Let us all transport ourselves noetically to the troubled parts of the Middle East, to the outskirts of Judea, to see where, but mainly why Jesus was born. Let us enter the cave, kneel before Him and say to Him: “Christ, mankind has not enjoyed the virtues of peace, as much as it desired. It lives in wars, killing joy and peace. It lives in distress and the fear of an uncertain future. The world is reminiscent of an immense battlefield, where every person turns against his brothers. Despite all the conferences and the movements for peace, it has remained, for twenty and more centuries, an "elusive dove", an uncertain dream. Let us transcend it! Let us put aside the passions that incite us to acts of violence! Let us spread arms of love, embracing every human being. Then we will experience the Nativity all the time.
Many blessed years!

Feast of the Nativity 2017
 
Christmas Day 2017 in POINTE-NOIRE



 Holy Baptism of 50 our brothers in Pointe-Noire, 2017 December 23th (from here):
 
 
Christmas Message to the Nation 2017, by Archbishop Jonah Lwanga of Uganda (English Version - Luganda Version here & here).

 
 
"Your Nativity, Oh Christ our God, (Is 9:6), has arisen on the world, as light of wisdom"
For at it, they who worshiped the stars, were taught by a star; (Mt 2:2,10), to adore you, the Sun of righteousness, and to know you, the Orient from on high. (Jn 3:16)
Oh Lord, Glory be to you!
Dear Viewers / Listeners!
All of us Christians are here again this year to rejoice while celebrating in a special way the mystery of Incarnation of the Word of God the Father in Jesus Christ, through the Virgin Mary and the Holy Spirit. Is 7:14, Lk 1:35, Eph 3:4-6; 9-12, Jn 1:1-3. As it is well known, this mystery of the incarnation of the word of God, into Christ Jesus the perfect Son of Man, is equally great like the mystery of His resurrection from the dead. Dan 7:13. Mt 12:41. Because, in between these two mysteries, are arrayed all the other miracles relating to the mission of the word of God to us, as the Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ, from Satan our Enemy. Heb 3:1, Mt 3:17; 17:5.
David the king, and one of the prophets on the enfleshment of the Word, invites us all now. Lk 20:43, Ps 110. “All you righteous (believers) sing joyfully to the Lord God, for whatever He has done…. Shout joyfully and praise skillfully with clean hearts! Ps 33:1-. Why should all believers praise and shout with joy? Because, “God (the Father) spoke, and it came to be; He commanded and it stood firm … Heaven and earth were made by His word”. Ps 33:6,9. And His Spirit took care of creation Gn 1:1-3. Here exactly is where the Apostle John the theologian adds his own witness upon this mystery: “Before the world and earth were made, the Word of God was existing. The Word was with God, and the Word was God … All things were made through Him, without him nothing was made that has been made …” Jn 1:1-. 
 
 
This Word, the Son of God in His eternity, descended from heaven for us men and for our salvation. Through the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, and became Man …” Lk 1:26-, Nicene creed, § 3.
If now we leave this beginning of the mystery of incarnation of the Word of God, for our unbelieving age, Mk 16:16, Jn 3:18, the following must be strictly observed. That, the Bible in its wholeness (OT and NT) explains and clarifies relations which exist between God and men, through Christ the Word and the Holy Spirit, during the struggle against the Enemy of the will of God. Gn 3:1-, Mt 7:12; 12:50, Jn 6:38-40. Therefore, all people who are in this struggle, as believers or Christians with a sensitive conscience, on the fact of sin in the history of the whole world, together with the Angels praise, rejoice and sing loudly for the incarnation of the Word of God in Christ Jesus. Lk 2:1-20. Because, Himself is the righteous, the imitatable and exemplary in all, as image of God (the Father). St. Paul writes precisely: “the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Cor 4:4. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created; things in the heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or power or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. 
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the Church; He is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy …” Col 1:15-20, Gn 1:26,27.
 
 
As we conclude this message, we wish His Excellence, the president, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his family, His Excellence, the Vice President, Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, the Judiciary, the Ministers, the Members of Parliament; His Highness the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, Nabagereka Sylivia Nnaginda, Cultural leaders, Leaders of Faith and all Ugandans; the incarnation of the Word of God in our Lord Jesus Christ, that is to say, His Nativity as the righteous Son of Man for the salvation of human race; may be a Feast that enables us all the Christian believers to celebrate joyfully, understanding even the cause that made the Word of God to appear on earth. Amen.
 
Christ is Born Glorify Him! (Kenya)
ORTHODOX DIOCESE OF NYERI AND MT KENYA
 



 
ORTHODOX CHURCH DIOCESE OF KISUMU AND WESTERN KENYA
 

Bishop Athanasius of Kisumu celebrated the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ at st. Mark orthodox church Eshianda Bukura, from here


Rwanda: "Let us come from all the corners of the world and walk to Bethlehem, to worship the Christ Child" (from here)
 
 
December 25: Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Christmas); Jesus is born in Bethlehem and honoured by the wise men. (Matthew 2:1-12)
As we approach celebration of the Feast of Nativity of our King and Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Saviour the humanity, we are very happy to wish to you good preparations and a Happy Celebration of Christmas and the New Year 2018.
Christmas is a great Feast for all the family and especially for the little children. Our wish for everyone on this Christmas is to strive to be the " greatest in the kingdom of heaven".
Jesus tells us today: "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me." (Matthew 18: 3-5) 
 

The worship of the Lord by the Magi is symbolic of the Church, the true Israel, in which membership is determined by faith, not by ethnic lineage. Let us come from all the corners of the world and walk to Bethlehem, guided by the star as the wise men / Magi, to worship the Christ Child, bearing our gifts: gold, for a King; frankincense, for God; and myrrh, for a Man who is to suffer and die for our salvation.
May you enjoy looking at the few pictures of the kids then gathered in the camp we had organized in our Orthodox Communities on Mount Kigali (outskirts of Kigali City) and on Mount Fumbwe - Nyagasambu (East Province).
May God remember each of you and bless you abundantly now and always. Have Peace brought by the Christ Child, Happiness and Prosperity to you and to your dear families.
Reader Timotheos (Tito) TWUNGUBUMWE
Orthodox Church in Rwanda.
 
Christmas Day 2017 in Burundi (from here)
 
 
 
 
 
Holy Baptism in Burundi, from here
 


See also 
 

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