Nativity Celebrations in Ann Arbor
The St. Vladimir parish in Ann Arbor, MI marked the great feast of the Nativity of our Lord with Divine Services beginning on Friday, January 4 (December 22). Since Nativity fell on a Monday this year there were several liturgical peculiarities associated with the feast, including Royal Hours on Friday and the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil served for the feast itself (instead of on the eve, as would be the case if Nativity fell on any other day besides Monday).  The Divine Services for the feast were well attended, the parish church being full on the eve of the feast for Vigil (at which this year, for the first time, all those in attendance sang together the triumphant troparion of the feast at the blessing of the loaves), and overflowing for the Divine Liturgy on the day of our Lord’s Nativity.  One hundred parishioners partook of the Holy Mysteries on this day from two chalices. The parish choir sang magnificently under the direction of Dr. Roman Vershynin. Following the Divine Liturgy the parishioners gathered for their annual Nativity breakfast (that is, the parish family together “broke the fast = breakfast”), a meal lovingly prepared by the parish’s St. Xenia Sisterhood. Following breakfast Great Vespers was served for the second day of the Nativity, with Divine Liturgy served on January 8 – the Synaxis of the Mother of God. The third day of the Nativity – the feast of St. Stephen the Protomartyr – was marked with a moleben on the evening of January 9.
The end of the liturgical feast marked just the beginning of the parish’s celebration of the Incarnation of our Lord, however!  On Friday, January 11 the parish held its annual Nativity Ball. This year we were graciously hosted by our sister parish in Ann Arbor, St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.  Our parish’s teen youth group prepared several special dances, as did the parish’s women’s dance troupe.  These well-prepared parishioners led the rest of the parish family in dancing throughout the evening. The event was catered by parishioner Arthur Verdiyan with a marvelous main course of Armenian shish kabob. The evening was a huge success and the parish thanks all those who worked so hard to make it possible.
On Saturday, January 12 the parish held its annual children’s Christmas Pageant/Yolka.  The Yolka was visited by both Santa Claus/Ded Moroz and his assistant in his important work the Snow Maiden/Snegurichka. The children enjoyed themselves thoroughly. The Yolka was very centered on the Nativity of our Lord – a message the children welcomed as much as the adults! We thank all who participated in the planning and very successful execution of the Yolka!
More information on the celebration of our Savior’s birth in our parish can be found at the links below.

Nativity Divine Service Photos:
Nativity Ball Photos:
Christmas Pageant/Yolka Photos:
Sound File – Nativity Vigil:
Sound File – Nativity Divine Liturgy:
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