The eleventh Congress of the Russian Orthodox Church on Social Service took place in Moscow under the leadership of Patriarch Kirill. Over a thousand participants from Russia and other countries, including leaders of charitable organizations, social departments of dioceses, and sisterhoods of mercy, discussed providing aid to refugees and those affected in conflict zones, including hospitals.
Legal proceedings against bishops of the canonical Church in Ukraine continue. In Cherkasy, a court once again refused to detain Metropolitan Theodosius of the Cherkasy Diocese of the UOC. He has been under house arrest for over six months on charges of inciting religious discord.
The hearing of the case against Metropolitan Longin (Zhara), the vicar of the Chernivtsi-Bukovina Diocese of the UOC, was scheduled for Friday but was canceled due to the absence of the plaintiffs. Over 300 believers came to support Metropolitan Longin at the courthouse in Chernivtsi, and in Bucharest, around a hundred locals rallied in support of him at the Ukrainian embassy, demanding his safety and freedom.
The Moldovan Church confirmed its status as an autonomous part of the ROC. This decision was made following a meeting between Metropolitan Vladimir and church representatives. The Orthodox Church of Moldova defrocked five parish priests who joined the Romanian Orthodox Church this week.
Patriarchs and heads of Churches in Jerusalem called on believers to forgo extensive celebrations of Christmas this year and instead focus on prayer and assistance to those affected by the war in Gaza. They urged priests to emphasize the spiritual significance of Christmas in their sermons and pray for peace in the Holy Land.
The Synod of the Orthodox Church in America canonized Mother Olga of Alaska, the first saint glorified in the OCA. The memory of St. Olga is celebrated annually on October 28/November 10 and in the Cathedral of All Saints of America on the second Sunday after Pentecost.
A mass baptism of Artsakh children and adults took place in Masis, Armenia. In one day, 140 people were baptized by seven godfathers and seven priests. The mayor of the city, David Ambartsumyan, was one of the godfathers. The baptisms for Karabakh Armenians are planned to be carried out sequentially.
Representatives of the Antiochian and Jerusalem Patriarchates met in Amman, the capital of Jordan. The meeting symbolized the restoration of Eucharistic communion between the Churches. The Antiochian delegation delivered a message from the Patriarch of Antioch and a donation to aid those affected in Gaza. The Antiochian Church was represented by Metropolitan of Latakia Athanasius (Fahd) and Metropolitan of Aleppo Ephrem (Maalouli). Archbishop Christophoros (Atallah) of Kyriakoupolis hosted the guests in the Archdiocesan House.