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An online press conference was held by the Head of the Kazakhstan Metropolitan District dedicated to the upcoming celebration of the Nativity of Christ (+ VIDEO)

January 4, 2024. Alma-Ata. Metropolitan Alexander of Astana and Kazakhstan held an online press conference dedicated to the holiday of the Nativity of Christ from his office in the spiritual, cultural and administrative center named after Metropolitan Joseph (Chernov).

The pre-Christmas event was organized by the Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency.

Participants in the virtual meeting included journalists from state and private media, representatives of news agencies, information and analytical portals, bloggers.

The speaker of the event was the director of the Interfax press center Zh.D. Zeyneshev.

Metropolitan Alexander congratulated media representatives on the civil New Year and the approaching Nativity of Christ and spoke about the essence of the celebrated evangelical event.

“The Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ is the greatest event in world history. For centuries, humanity has suffered from separation from God. Through the prophets, the Creator promised to grant the world His salvation. And finally, the ancient prophecies were fulfilled - God incarnate, the Word became flesh, in the small town of Bethlehem, in a cave for the wintering of cattle, Christ was born from the Blessed Virgin.
The Nativity of the Savior changed the course of time, united Heaven with earth, and became the beginning of the spiritual birth and renewal of the human race.
During Christmas services, the angelic song is heard repeatedly: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” What do these words mean? The angels announce to us that only there peace is established, only there the human soul abides in joy, silence and tranquility, where there is fidelity to the Divine commandments, where people listen and fulfill the will of their Heavenly Father,” said the archpastor.

The Metropolitan drew attention to the need to especially celebrate the Christmas holidays by performing deeds of mercy. “The light and warmth of the Christmas celebration gives us strength in great and small ways to overcome egocentrism, to act in God’s truth and inspires us to live in kindness and love. At Christmas, the sacred words “God is with us!” are often repeated, which means that all of us, strengthened by His grace, can drive out envy and irritation from our hearts, stop slander and condemnation, become friendlier and more patient with the people around us.

Just as the Infant of God, born of the Most Holy Virgin, showed us true mercy and immeasurable condescension towards our weaknesses and shortcomings, so we must be merciful and condescending towards people. We are called to imitate Christ in love.
Each of us, by doing good deeds, is capable of at least to a small extent changing the surrounding reality for the better, for darkness is powerless before the radiance of true life,” the hierarch emphasized.

Continuing the press conference, journalists were informed that the main Christmas service in the southern capital will be held on the night of January 6-7 in the historical and cultural pearl of Kazakhstan - the Ascension Cathedral. The Metropolitan noted that on Christmas night on the Semirechye YouTube channel there will be a broadcast of the Divine Liturgy from the Ascension Cathedral of Alma-Ata, which will be carried out by the television studio of the Metropolitan District (director - Honored Cultural Worker V.L. Posadneva).

“When people ask me, Vladyka, how to celebrate the Nativity of Christ correctly, I give a simple answer. The most important thing is to attend the festive service. Those who have the opportunity - the night Divine Liturgy, those who wish - in the morning. And only then everything else: meetings with family and friends, games with children and grandchildren, treats and gifts. Thank God, the pandemic with its harsh restrictive measures is a thing of the past. Now everyone has the opportunity to freely visit the temple, light candles, pray for the living and the dead. Let us please the Newborn Savior with our participation in the common solemn prayer,” Metropolitan Alexander appealed to the people of Kazakhstan.

The archpastor invited residents and guests of the city of Almaty to visit the unique park created next to the Kazan Cathedral of the southern capital: “Christmas is a holiday when we try to pay special attention to our children and grandchildren. On the eve of the New Year holidays in Almaty, next to the cathedral in honor of the Kazan Icon of the Mother of God, a children's theme park “Tales of the Peoples of Kazakhstan” opened. The project received a church blessing and was brought to life by the Apostol public foundation, headed by President Georgy Gennadievich Sosnovsky. A special feature of the park are sculptural images of fairy-tale heroes of the peoples of the Great Steppe. On Christmas Day, there will be children's entertainment in the park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We invite everyone."

The head of the Orthodox Church of Kazakhstan spoke about the celebration in 2024 of a historical date - the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Astana and Alma-Ata diocese: “On March 31, 1999, the Holy Synod, chaired by the ever-memorable His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II, “taking into account the capital status of the city of Astana,” established on the territory of Kazakhstan, a diocese that combines the capital with nearby settlements, the city of Alma-Ata and the territory of the Alma-Ata region. Our administrative structures are quite young, but we all know that the history of the Orthodox Church of Kazakhstan goes back to ancient times. Christianity was preached in the vast expanses of the Great Steppe back in the apostolic era. In the 19th century, the Turkestan diocese was formed here, the first hierarch of which was Archbishop Zephaniah (Sokolsky), an ascetic and prayer, a tireless worker in the field of Christ. We call him the Apostle of Central Asia. This coming year marks the 225th anniversary of his birth.”

According to the hierarch, the coming year will pass under the auspices of preparation for the 50th anniversary of the repose in the Lord of the outstanding spiritual figure of the 20th century, a righteous man who endured torment for his faith in Christ - Metropolitan Joseph (Chernov). “His name is known to millions of believers; he is revered both in Kazakhstan and far beyond its borders. Now we are doing a lot of work to create a house-museum of Bishop Joseph in Almaty. Today we have managed to restore the ancient building where he lived and worked; The collection of exhibits for future exhibitions is encouraging with good results. The activities of Metropolitan Joseph are connected not only with Almaty, he served in Kostanay, Petropavlovsk and Tselinograd. Therefore, cultural and educational events will be held in many cities of our country,” said the Head of the Metropolitan District.

Metropolitan Alexander told media representatives that as part of the celebration of the formation of the Astana diocese, Kazakhstan would be visited by a special shrine - the miraculous icon of the Mother of God “Healer”.

At the end of the press conference, Metropolitan Alexander congratulated the people of Kazakhstan on the New Year and the upcoming holiday of the Nativity of Christ and shared his thoughts with journalists: “On the eve of the New Year, I had the opportunity to meet and communicate with two amazing people. Their names are well known to Kazakhstanis and are known far beyond the Republic. These are the outstanding poet and public figure - Olzhas Suleimenov and the legendary singer - Bibigul Tulegenova. They were awarded the highest award of the Orthodox Church of Kazakhstan - the Order of Peace and Concord. We talked on various topics, discussed issues of science, culture and art, talked about the role of traditional religions in the life of society. But the red thread of our communication was the preservation in Kazakhstan of its main heritage, bequeathed by our ancestors - interethnic peace and interfaith harmony. Not only politicians and public figures need to work in this field. Each of us needs to make an effort to do this. Good neighborliness and mutual understanding among the people, in the country, in the city, in the team and in the family begin with the peaceful dispensation of the individual human soul, with its reconciliation with God, with neighbor and conscience.

Olzhas Omarovich gave me his new book - “So it was...”, which contains memories, articles, interviews. The book begins with the wise lessons of his mother, who told young Olzhas: “If you meet a person, make him happy.”

Let’s please and support each other as often as possible with a warm word, a gentle smile, and a kind deed.”