This year, the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ has been as festive as usual, however without the snow that usually typifies Christmas in Jordanville.
Royal Hours were served on Friday morning with a small break before Vladyka Luke was met at the doors of the church for the beginning of the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. At the end of the liturgy, as is traditional, the icon of the Nativity was brought out of the altar and placed in the middle of the church with a candle placed behind it with the singing of the troparion and the kontakion of the feast for the first time, thus starting the solemnity of the feast.
This was followed by a rest for some and a lot of activity for others who proceeded to decorate the church with flowers and wreathes. The one meal of the day, served when the first star appears in the sky, was at 5PM. Although in the monastery we don have the traditional twelves dishes, we do have some traditional food, such as boiled wheat, compote of dried fruits, mushrooms, and so on.
At 7 PM the Vigil was served with great solemnity and the chanting of special joyous hymns. The church was filled with a great number of the faithful. The meeting of the bishop was at 9 AM the next day, Christmas Day. During the Small Entrance, Priest John Boddecker was awarded the kamilavka for his great dedication to his duties as a seminary instructor.
At the end of the Liturgy, the monastery had its traditional meal of aspic of fish with several other delicious dishes. Following trapeza, Vladyka invited all to his quarters for a festive reception. This was started by a short moleben, and then all were treated to savory and sweet treats. The children were given special gifts by Vladyka, who stood by a beautifully decorated tree in his dining room. Thus started Holy Nativity in the monastery, which continues the next couple of days with two further hierarchal liturgies.