East Kazakhstan celebrates Christmas 

Christmas is one of the major Christian holidays. In Kazakhstan, Orthodoxy, along with Islam, is one of the foundations of spirituality, and it makes a valuable contribution to the strengthening of mutual understanding, interfaith peace and stable development of the society. On this bright holiday, Akim of East Kazakhstan region Danial Akhmetov congratulated Orthodox Christians in St. Andrew Cathedral of Ust-Kamenogorsk city.

It is noteworthy that during the 11th session of the Peoples’ Assembly of Kazakhstan, in 2005, the First President of the country Nursultan Nazarbayev proclaimed religious holidays, the first day of Kurban Ait and Orthodox Christmas, to be days off. Since then, these days have been officially declared non-working.

The past year was special for Orthodox believers in East Kazakhstan, since the Diocesan Museum was opened. On the Christmas Eve, Danial Akhmetov visited it. Bishop Ust-Kamenogorsk and Semipalatinsk Amfilohije told about the history of the region, the formation and development of Orthodoxy in the region, and ethnography. At the exhibition stands of the museum there are samples of liturgical use - icons, chalices, vestments, pectoral crosses. The head of the region proposed expanding the exhibition and telling more about the history of the region, Orthodoxy, and ethnography, as it will be interesting for students of different nationalities, regardless of their culture and religion.

Congratulating Orthodox Christians on Christmas, Danial Akhmetov noted that this holiday is a symbol of the renewal of the world, the triumph of good and justice, mercy and sincere attention to those who need help and care.

“Christmas is a holiday that unites our great human values ​​- the desire for happiness, health, endless respect for the older generation, mother and father, to be a patriot of our country, to work faithfully and honestly, to educate the younger generation in work and happiness”, Danial Akhmetov said. - This is said in Islam, and in Buddhism, as well as in Confucianism. It is very important for us that we, united by one country and one fate, build a common happiness for all of us.

This Christmas in St. Andrew Cathedral is celebrated with a new iconostasis. It was made with the help of the entrepreneurs of the region with the assistance of the head of the region. About a year the masters worked on the iconostasis. In gratitude for the contribution to the preservation of interfaith and interethnic harmony, Danial Akhmetov was awarded the Order of the Orthodox Church of Kazakhstan “Algys”.

The Chief Imam of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims of Kazakhstan in Ust-Kamenogorsk region Ermek kazhy Mukatay congratulated East Kazakhstani people on this holiday and wished them all the best. He noted that God is one and all religions unite spiritual principles. It is no coincidence that the words Rukh in Arabic and Dukh (Spirit) in Russian are so consonant.

The festive Christmas liturgy of St. John Chrysostom took place on January 6, on the Christmas Eve. It was led by His Grace Amfilohije, Bishop of Ust-Kamenogorsk and Semipalatinsk.