The great Feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ was celebrated with all sanctity at the Centre of the Holy Great Church of Christ.
The Divine Liturgy which was held on Sunday, December 25, at the Venerable Patriarchal Church of Saint George the Great Martyr, was presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, who was also joined at the holy altar by Metropolitan Meliton of Philadelphia, Metropolitan Chrysostomos of Myra, Metropolitan Theolyptos of Iconium and Ioakeim of Bursa. The Abbot of the Monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos, Archimandrite Ephraim, also participated in the festive divine liturgy.
The Chief Secretary of the Holy and Sacred Synod, Archimandrite Grigorios, read the Patriarchal tribute for the Christmas Feast Day.
Also present at the Divine Liturgy were: Bishop Paisios of Xanthoupolis, clergymen from Ukraine, Holy Fathers and Monks from Mount Athos, representatives of Christian communities of Constantinople, Archon Officials of the Great Church of Christ under the General Secretary of their Brotherhood “Panagia Pammakaristos”, Konstantinos Delikostantis, Archon Didaskalos of the Nation, the Consuls General of U.S.A and of Ukraine in Constantinople, Julie Eadeh and Roman Nedilskyi, and the Consul of Greece Danai Vasilaki, with their relatives and associates, and a multitude of believers from the City of Constantinople and abroad.
After the Divine Liturgy, in the courtyard of the Patriarchate, members of the Ukrainian parish of Constantinople and pilgrims from Ukraine sang their traditional carols to the Patriarch.
At the reception that followed, the following dignitaries attended and wished to the Ecumenical Patriarch and through Him to the Greek Orthodox Community, their Christmas greetings: Haydar Ali Yildiz, Mayor of Pera (Beyoğlu), Muammer Keskin, Mayor of Şişli, Rıza Akpolat, Mayor of Beşiktaş, Erdem Gül, and Mayor of the Princes’ Islands (Adalar), with their associates.
On the eve of the Feast Day, the Ecumenical Patriarch officiated at Christmas Vespers at the Patriarchal Church.