On December 12/25, the day of commemoration of St. Spiridon of Trimythous and St. Herman of Alaska, with the blessing of the vicar of the Church of the Nativity of Christ, Metropolitan Benedict, Archimandrite Roman (Krassovsky), head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem as part of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, accompanied by the sisters of three convents of the Mission, served Divine Liturgy at the place of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

Before the service, children from the boarding school of the Bethany Orthodox School for Girls made a traditional walk from the Gethsemane Convent of St. Mary Magdalene to Bethlehem. At three o’clock in the morning, the children, accompanied by the headmistress of the school, mother Maria (Wall), began their hike and reached the Church of the Nativity of Christ in 3 hours, singing Christmas hymns and carols along the way.

Archimandrite Roman concelebrated with the honored archpriest Spiridon (Sammur) who celebrated his name day that day. The abbess’ of both the Mount of Olives Convent of the Ascension of the Lord, Mother Barbara (Novikova) and the Gethsemane Convent, Mother Elisabeth (Smelic) with their sisters prayed at the Liturgy. The choir of sisters from all three monasteries of the Mission sang the entire service. Fr. Roman gave communion to the sisters and those praying at the Liturgy. At the end of the service, Fr. Roman congratulated Fr. Spiridon with the day of his patron saint and proclaimed for him “many years”.

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