Christmas masses held in several churches in country

Christmas masses held in several churches in country

Christmas masses held in several churches in country

On the night of Dec.24, which is considered the birthday of Jesus Christ, Christmas Eve masses were held in Saint Antoine Church in Istanbul, the Greek Orthodox Church in the southern province of Mersin, and Orthodox and Catholic churches in the southern provinces of Hatay.

Christians living in Istanbul came together at the Christmas Mass held at the Saint Antoine Church on Istiklal Street. Domestic and foreign tourists showed great interest in the ceremony, while visitors lit candles and prayed before the mass.

Following the recital of hymns, the Christmas Mass began at 9 p.m. Sections from the Bible were read at the liturgy, where the birth of Jesus was described.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos led the ceremony held at the Fener Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in the Fatih district.

The ritual started at 9 p.m. in the Hagia Yorgi Church located inside the Fener Greek Patriarchate. Those who came for the mass lit candles and prayed in the area located at the entrance of the church.

Apart from the Greeks living in Türkiye, a considerable number of foreign tourists also attend the ceremony. Tea Hadelia, one of the attendees of the mass, said, “I am quite excited and happy today. We celebrate Jesus’ birthday in our church. We believe in God that Jesus will return.”

In addition to Istanbul, the masses in various churches in Mersin and Hatay provinces, which have historical bonds with Christianity, attracted the attention of Christians living in the region.

Giving a speech at the mass in Iskenderun Orthodox Church, priest Dimitri Yildirim thanked those who celebrate Christmas and wished that Christmas would bring peace, unity and brotherhood to the whole world.

The Bulgarian Orthodox church in the northwestern province of Edirne, Sveti Georgi, was among the churches where the Christmas mass was held in the country.

Orthodox people living in Bulgaria and Edirne attended the mass, while priest Aleksandr Çıkırık recited hymns and prayers about Jesus from the Bible.

The liturgy ended with the distribution of the antidoron, also known as blessed pieces of bread, after the prayer.

Stating that they prayed for happiness, brotherhood and peace, Çıkırık said, “I wish you all a happy and blessed holiday. There is a beautiful atmosphere of friendship and brotherhood in Edirne.”

“I hope I will serve here until I die as much as I can,” the priest added.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis officiated Christmas Eve Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

This year, approximately 7,000 people watched the Christmas Mass, which was held with limited participation for the last two years due to the epidemic.

In his speech, the Pope warned about greed in consumption, while he stated that people have drained their neighbors and even their brothers due to the hunger for power and money.

Stressing that those in need should not be forgotten at Christmas, the Pope also pointed out that children victimized by wars are the responsibility of all humanity.