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Posted in Dialogue, Interreligious dialogue, Parishes in Israel

Ecumenical Christmastime in the Holy Land

Ecumenical Christmastime in the Holy Land

Holy Land – Christmas is observed on three different dates: on December, 25 for Catholics, January 6 for the Orthodox, and January 19 for Armenians. These three different dates give Christmas a very ecumenical dimension.

 Christmas for the Filipinos in Nazareth

The Filipino Community of Nazareth celebrates Christmas usually on Sunday of the Holy Family.  This year, the communities of Indian and Sri-Lankan immigrants responded to the invitation and took part in the celebrations.  The Mass, presided over by Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo, guest of the occasion, has gathered the different communities coming to celebrate the birth of Christ. In his homily, the Patriarchal Vicar encouraged them “to take advantage of the graces of the Year of Mercy, in order to live the joy and blessings of the Christian family and to renew their discreet and bold testimonies as Christians in the midst of non-Christians in Israel”.

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Interreligious New Year Day in Haifa

 Tradition says that Mass of New Year Day be celebrated by the Latin Patriarchal Vicar. Thereafter the Mayor of the town presented his greetings to the Latin Community. Tradition was respected again this year: Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo received on behalf of the Latin Community of the Holy Land the good wishes from Mr Yona Yahav, Mayor of Haifa, after celebrating Mass in the Parish Church.

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Celebrating Orthodox Christmas in Nazareth

It is the Orthodox Parish Committee which organizes Christmas celebrations.  As many faithful had already attended Catholic liturgical rituals on 25 December, the Orthodox holidays are expressed mostly in the socio-religious evening of  January, 5. Among the guests there were civilian and religious figures of the town, as well as leading local personalities.

It is a real ecumenical encounter which gathered Orthodox Metropolitan Kiryakos, Jude Raeq Jarjoura, chairman of Israel’s Othodox Congress, Mrs. Afaf Touma, chairwoman of the Parish Orthodox Committee, and Bishop Marcuzzo. The latter referred to the forthcoming ”Pan-Orthodox Council” which will take place in Istanbul next June 2016 to discuss, among other things, the unification of Christian celebrations.

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Our correspondent in Galilee.

Photos: A.T.