The Christmas season is always a busy time at home and at the parish, our spiritual home, and this year was no exception. It was also wonderfully fulfilling.

 Two groups of Colindatorii (Carolers) continued the tradition, visiting homes of parishioners and friends on several nights before the feast. We thank Dn Sabin and JE Lazar who led the groups and brought much needed funds to the parish through the generosity of the homes and families that welcomed the carolers.

Due to a snow storm, our Cathedral Choir’s annual concert, organized by Director JE Lazar, was postponed to December 23. The delay, however, didn’t dampen the spirit of our faithful singers who offered a wonderful program of carols and hymns. Elena Bucciarelli and William Mindroiu offered piano solos and some of the Church School students in Romanian costume and carrying the traditional “Steaua” (star) joyfully sang of Christ’s Birth. Then, as the program concluded and Sr AROY, with Cezarina Hritcu as Coordinator, served lunch, Moş Crăciun arrived with a gift for each happy child in the audience.

 The solemn Vigil of the great feast was celebrated Monday evening and the festal Liturgy Tuesday morning. His Eminence, Archbishop Nathaniel celebrated the Eucharistic service with the Dean, Fr Lazar, Archdeacon David Oancea and Cathedral Deacon Sabin Pop, and two inspiring choirs shared in leading the responses of the day. Our Cathedral Choir, singing from the lower right apse of the temple, alternated with guest choir “Cædonia” from Romania, which sang from the upper loft.  The Archbishop asked that his Pastoral Letter be read in English and Romanian, after which he offered a brief additional teaching. The faithful were anointed with blessed oil, and then made their way to the Cultural Center, where the Archbishop blessed the Ladies Auxiliary’s reception, sprinkling the foods and people with Holy Water.

 After, the guest choir (whose Cathedral visit was arranged by JE Lazar) enjoyed a private dinner (prepared by the Kalugar Family) in Metes Hall, they were hosted at the Rectory where they sang traditional carols for the Archbishop and Lazar Family.

 On the evening of the Second Day of Christmas, the visiting “Cædonia” Chamber Choir, as part of a U.S. Tour celebrating their City of Sibiu, Romania – 2007 European Capital of Culture – sang an exciting and extensive concert of Romanian (and English!) carols and hymns of the season. While virtually none of the members are singers by profession, the 25 voice ensemble enthralled the audience with beautiful renditions of traditional carols and religious hymns, some simple in composition, others extremely difficult. After standing ovations, the audience of some 250 that filled St George Hall with parishioners and friends sang “Many Years” in honor of the guests. In gratitude for being warmly received, the choir presented the parish with a glass icon of the Birthgiver, from the Romanian Patriarchate’s annual competition “The Icon in the Child’s Heart”.  A Free-will offering was taken for the benefit of the visitors and everyone then enjoyed a hospitality reception. (Clergy in attendance: Fr Lazar, Fr Abbot Michael, Fr Rosco, Fr Star, Fr Barbolovici, Fr Partioc, Fr Petrutiu, Dn Pop)

 Give thanks to the Infant King for blessing our community in such various ways during this blessed Nativity season.

- Fr Laurence Lazar

One of caroling groups takes time for a photo
Parishioners offered food & drink to the colindatori
JE Lazar leads one of the groups in song

Men continued their "carnati" tradition
Fred Klus counts out orders of fresh sausage
Nick Vasu Sr leads this annual labor of love

Snow blankets the Cathedral
Some of the boys smile for the camera
The children sing "Trei Pastori"

Our young 'colindatori' with the 'steaua'
Our choir thrilled the crowd at their concert
Elena Bucciarelli plays the piano

William Mindroiu amazed the audience
Gabrielle Teodorescu with Mos Craciun
Caedonia Choir at the end of Christmas Eve Vigil

Fr Laurence anoints the faithful on Christmas Eve
Hristos s-a Nascut! Mariti-l!
The Archbishop anoints the faithful on Christmas

The Christmas Hierarchal Divine Liturgy
Deacons read the English & Romanian Gospels
Caedonia Choir of Sibiu sang from the Balcony

Archbishop Nathaniel at the great censing
Archdeacon David Oancea
Deacon Sabin Pop greets parishioners

Fr Laurence & Dn Sabin with the Caedonia Choir
Caedonia sings carols at the Lazar Home
Fr Laurence introduces Caedonia at their Concert

Prof Floare leads the Caedonia Choir of Sibiu
A special plaque is offered to the Cathedral
The Choir visited downtown Detroit
Merry Christmas from Detroit to Romania!
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