“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…” (1 Tim. 3:16). These are the words of Apostle Paul who emphasized the significance of the Nativity of Christ when he was instructing Timothy. The Nativity is one of the greatest holidays of the Orthodox Church. In the Slavic tradition it is celebrated on January 7 (December 25 on the Julian Calendar).
In the Cathedral of St. Matrona of Moscow, which is the main church of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate of America and the largest Russian cathedral in the city, Christmas was celebrated on the night of January 6 to 7 according to the established tradition. Before midnight, the services Great Compline and Matins were held, which was followed by a ceremonial Procession with the icon of the Nativity of Christ and the relics of St. Matrona, a tradition of the parish. At midnight Archimandrite Alexander Belya, Vicar of the Slavic Orthodox Vicariate and the Rector of the Miami Cathedral, led the Divine Liturgy celebrating the Nativity of Christ. Many faithful came to worship and receive Holy Communion. All precautionary norms for the Pandemic were strictly followed in compliance with CDC guidelines.
The veneration of the icon of the Nativity by the faithful concluded the services. In his Christmas sermon Archimandrite Alexander emphasized that the true glorification of the newborn Savior who came into the world are the sincere prayers to Him from the hearts of believers. The Rector also informed the flock that this year the parish of St. Matrona will be celebrating its 10- year anniversary. During this time much has been done to expand and beautify the cathedral, which was recently crowned with a main dome decorated with icons. The Vicar stated that his goal was to install a faience iconostasis in the Cathedral during this year. It has already been brought and is presently in storage. Once assembled it will be unique not only in Miami, but throughout America, as there are no other iconostases of that kind in the North American continent. Father Alexander then thanked all the donors, singers, workers, volunteers, and everyone who supported and assisted the Cathedral in all the difficult times. Prayers for these faithful are offered regularly both at the services and during the reading of the Psalter. At the end of the service the choir and the parishioners sang Christmas carols in different languages.