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Christmas in Thailand and Cambodia

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On the night of 6 to 7 January 2013 Orthodox Christians in Thailand celebrated Christmas. This year holiday services were performed at the St. Nicholas Chapel in Bangkok, All Saints Church in Pattaya (Chonburi province), Holy Trinity Church on Phuket, Holy Ascension Church on Samui, as well as at the church of Saint Great Martyr George in Phnom Penh and St. Panteleimon in Sihanoukville of the Kingdom of Cambodia.

In the Holy Dormition Monastery brethren held a reader’s service due to lack of a priest, who will visit the monastery January 9.

Pattaya and Phuket were especially crowded where numerous tourists and vacationers joined the residing parishioners of All Saints and Trinity Churches.

In Pattaya the evening festive service began at 6 January from 10:00 pm. Vigil and Divine Liturgy were served by the Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin). On the occasion of Christmas, many pilgrims confessed and received Holy Communion. Throughout the feast day the church was filled with worshipers.

Christmas services at All Saints Church in Pattaya
In the photo: Christmas services at All Saints Church in Pattaya.

In the afternoon, All Saints’ Sunday school held a Christmas pictures competition and festive play. Archimandrite Oleg, who attended the children’s party, congratulated the children for Christmas and thanked them for the program.

The same evening, the Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand held ​​a festive evening service. Members of the Catholic community in Pattaya came to give congratulations on the Orthodox Nativity of Christ. In response, archimandrite Oleg gave the guests an icon of St. Nicholas, a saint of the undivided Church of Christ and patron saint of the Orthodox believers in Thailand.

Representatives of the Catholic community in Pattaya congratulate Orthodox Christmas
In the photo: Representatives of the Catholic community in Pattaya congratulate Orthodox Christmas.

French broadcaster «Sable Rouge» filmed the Orthodox community celebrating Christmas in Pattaya.

On Phuket vigil was served ​​by priest Alexey Golovin. Holy Trinity Church was festively decorated inside and illuminated by electric garlands outside by parishioners.

Christmas Liturgy at Holy Trinity Church in Phuket
In the photo: Christmas service at the Holy Trinity Church in Phuket.

The Church in Phuket is the largest Orthodox church in Thailand. More than 200 people came this year during the Christmas service in Phuket. As noted by archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin), Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand, summing up the celebration of Christmas in Thailand: «It is gratifying that a year ago, the temple opened, consecrated in February 2012 by archbishop Mark of Egorievsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate foreign institutions of the Russian Orthodox Church, and has taken a worthy and important place in the life of the Russian community of the island. The obvious merit goes to the recently appointed priest from Tomsk Fr. Alexey Golovin».

Orthodox believers of Bangkok also had Holiday service on Christmas. At St. Nicholas Church the evening service (Vigil and Divine Liturgy) was performed by priest Daniel Wanna. In the evening of Christmas Day after festive Vespers there was a Christmas tree for the children of parishioners. The parish council of St. Nicholas Chapel in Bangkok offered ​​a traditional holiday dinner.

Fr. Daniel Wanna offers the cross at the end of the holiday service in Bangkok
In the photo: Fr. Daniel Wanna offers the cross at the end of the holiday service in Bangkok.

At Holy Ascension parish on Samui there was a festive service, despite the fact that the temple has not yet been finished. Arranged by the Orthodox Missionary Department (Moscow) and the Kolomenskaya Seminary, a student Roman Pashin, specially arrived for the holidays from Moscow to assist in the organization of services in Samui. Archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin) blessed an evening reader’s service. Mr. Pashin also prepared those present for the Confession and Holy Communion at the Divine Liturgy, which would be available on January 8th on Samui, served by priest Alexei Golovin, on the second day of Christmas.

Space for the Christmas service on Samui is located right beneath the walls of the temple under construction
In the photo: Space for the Christmas service on Samui is located right beneath the walls of the temple under construction.

It is expected that for the feast of the Holy Dormition in 2013 the construction of a temple on Koh Samui will be completed, which will allow, upon consecration of the temple, the full liturgical life.

Due to the special care of the Hierarchy for the development of Orthodoxy in the South-East Asia for the first time this year, it became possible to send to Cambodia not only lay missionaries, but a clergyman.

In the Orthodox chapel of the Holy Great Martyr George, located at the Bulgarian Embassy, always kindly provided for the needs of the Russian community, Sunday services began, which coincided this year with Christmas Eve. Priest Roman Bychkov served All-Night Vigil on Saturday evening and Sunday Divine Liturgy. Fr. Roman was ordained for ministry in Thailand in December 2012. He was helped by Xenia Bychkova, and Ilya Molev, lecturer at the School of the Orthodox Missionary Department (Moscow), arriving especially for holidays from Moscow to assist in the organization of services in Cambodia. On Christmas eve night Fr. Roman Bychkov served festive Vigil.

During the services, according to the canons of the Church as the chapel belongs to the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, following the commemoration of the Patriarch of Russian Orthodox Church Kirill, Fr. Roman remembered His Eminence Kirill, Metropolitan of Varna and Veliki, the governor-chairman of the Holy Synod of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church. Fr. Roman Bychkov also gave a Christmas gift and heartfelt congratulations to the charge d’affaires of Bulgaria Mr. Svilen Popov on behalf of the Representative of Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand archimandrate Oleg (Cherepanin). In view of the special conditions of the religious situation in the Kingdom of Cambodia, at the vigil of the Orthodox Church of Phnom Penh also prayed Ethiopian citizens living in Cambodia.

Priest Roman Bychkov served Christmas Divine Liturgy ​​the morning of January 7 at the parish of the Holy Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon in Sihanoukville. Afterwards baby Samuel received the Holy Sacrament of Baptism.

Priest Roman Bychkov served a festive Divine Liturgy in the parish of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon in Sihanoukville (Cambodia)
In the photo: Priest Roman Bychkov served a festive Divine Liturgy in the parish of the Great Martyr and Healer Panteleimon in Sihanoukville (Cambodia).

Preparing parishioners to worship, confess and receive Holy Communion was Ilya Molev, a lecturer at the School of the Orthodox Missionary at Synodal Missionary Department (Moscow). Church staff and members of the parish council visited the Russians jailed in Sihanoukville, consoling them for Christmas.

The Representative of the Russian Orthodox Church in Thailand archimandrite Oleg (Cherepanin) praised the organization and conduct of the Christmas holidays in the parishes of the Orthodox Church in Thailand this year. He expressed his sincere gratitude to the Foundation Committee of the Orthodox Church in Thailand and the parish councils, as well as all those who labored for the holidays. Archimandrite Oleg asked clergy serving in Thailand to plan the organization of festive Christmas services in the next year in the People’s Democratic Republic of Laos.

Source: Orthodox Christian Church in Thailand (Moscow Patriarchate)

Written by Stephen

January 22, 2013 at 5:55 pm