Traditionally in the Holy Land, Nativity Matins and Divine Liturgy are celebrated at midnight. Great Compline with the chanting of “God is with us” and the litya are served in the evening.
In the church of the Equal to the Apostles St. Mary Magdalene, at five o’clock on the of the eve of the feast, Hieromonk Theodore (Kirike) with Hierodeacon Gerasim (Kotovsky) served Great Compline, after which the head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky) went out to the narthex to serve the litya with the blessing of loaves. Compline ended with a dismissal after which Fr Roman distributed the blessed bread with wine to the sisters.
At 12:00 midnight, at the exclamation “Glory to the Holy, and Consubstantial, and Life-giving, and Inseparable Trinity…” the choir solemnly began to sing the small doxology “Glory to God in the Highest.” The head of the Mission performed a complete censing of the church and the worshipers. Then the Six Psalms were read and the usual order of Matins was served. At the Polyeleos the aforementioned clergy along with Hieromonk Misail (Minaev) and Fr. John Mandic proceded to the icon of the feast and glorified the great celebration with the singing af the “Megalynarion”. Then the gospel story of the Nativity of Christ was read.
At the end of Matins, immediately after the singing of the Great Doxology and the troparion of the feast, the Divine Liturgy began. Abbess Elisabeth (Shmelts) and her sisters prayed at the service.
After the divine services at the refectory, the sisters broke the 40 day fast with spiritual joy.