Orthodox Christians in Seychelles celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ



Father Sergios celebrating the Christmas divine liturgy

The Christmas divine liturgy was celebrated by Father Sergios (Janosevic) of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa, serving in the English language for the mixed Orthodox community of Seychellois, Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian, Greek, Bulgarian, and Eritrean and Egyptian Coptic faithful.

The liturgy was attended by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Seychelles, Mikhail Kalinin, as well as the chairman of the Seychelles-Russia Friendship Society, Lieutenant-Colonel Andre Ciseau.

A five-member female choir sang hymns in Old Church Slavonic with Serbian church melodies at the service which took place at the Berjaya Beau Vallon Bay hotel, where some Russian, Romanian and Greek Cypriot tourists also joined in the celebration.

In reading the message of the Greek Orthodox Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa Theodoros II, Father Sergios said that Christ's birth in Bethlehem had given Motherhood a new meaning; that it was sanctified by the Mother of God, the Theotokos, in the humble stable in Bethlehem.

“The Theotokos’ attitude gave prominence to maternal love as an irreplaceable portal of human life. Her attitude highlighted the principles of mildness, humility and solidarity.

 Furthermore, the image of maternal shelter and protection, as this was reflected in the small stable in Bethlehem, was to become an everlasting benchmark for all the women of the world.

Father Sergios celebrating the Christmas divine liturgy

 A refuge of hope each time the last glimmer of light was lost. A refuge of courage each time the last reserves of strength were being depleted,” said the message of Patriarch Theodoros II.

The Patriarch’s message recalled the terrible treatment of mothers in Sub-Saharan Africa especially the women who are victims of trafficking, violence, abuse, diseases and unemployment.

“A world without mothers is a world without love and a world without respect for women as the source of life; it is a world without humanity.

 Let us therefore not allow the crisis of our times to violate respect for women’s rights. Rights know no gender, no borders. Let us show the necessary respect for the person, the work, the effort, the needs and the wishes of the mother, wife, sister and daughter,” said the Patriarch.

After the Liturgy, the faithful joined together for a celebration with traditional food and refreshments.
This is the second Christmas liturgy celebrated by Father Sergios. Father Sergios is known to most as Srdjan Janosevic, a Serbian man and naturalized Seychellois who has lived and worked with his family in Seychelles for 23 years.

He spent his whole working life in the airline industry, serving 15 years with Jugoslav Air Transport (JAT) and 20 years with Air Seychelles.
In 2008 following his retirement, he became more interested in spiritual work of the Orthodox Church. 
In May 2009, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Dimitrios of Tanzania and Seychelles visited Seychelles and established a parish.
The Archbishop asked Srdjan to enter the priesthood, and he was ordained deacon in Tanzania in October 2009, and in December 2009 was ordained priest in Thessalonica, Greece.

Contributed by the Orthodox Christian community

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