The Christian world celebrates the Nativity of Jesus on December 25th, however three Orthodox Patriarchies – Jerusalem, Russian, and Serbian count time according to the Julian Calendar, and, due to the difference of 13 days, they celebrate the same holiday on January 7th. Christmas is one of the most important and most joyous Christian holidays, and its message is the one of peace and love.
To celebrate this important holiday Post of Serbia introduced two special stamps that can boast by their original and bright design. StampNews.com invites our readers to appreciate these two items together!
Here, in Serbia people celebrate Christmas for three days. On the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve, Oak branches are being carried inside the home, the sanctuary lamp is being lit, straw spread, and sweets, dried fruit, and coins placed around the home. Straw symbolizes the manger where Jesus was born. Oak branch is a symbol of longevity, strength, and endurance of Christianity, as well as the warmth of love that Christ brought with his birth. On Christmas day, early in the morning, church bells are ringing and announcing the birth of Jesus. People go to church to attend the Christmas liturgy and greet each other with “Christ is born” – “Indeed he is born”.
On stamps and envelops, details of “The Nativity” fresco from the Gradac Monastery are portrayed. Annunciation monastery in the valley of the Ibar River is the endowment of Queen Helen of Anjou, wife of the Serbian King Uroš I. The monastic complex was completed around the year of 1276. The church was built out of cut stone with significant characteristics of Raška stylistic group. Fresco, preserved only in fragments, is one of the most valuable works of Serbian medieval heritage.
The compositions on the walls exude monumentality, and among them “The Nativity” fresco stands out, with its narrative account and central motif of Virgin Mary with infant Jesus surrounded by the following scenes: the announcement to the shepherds, bathing of the new-born Christ, the adoration of the shepherds, arrival and return of the three Wise Men, Joseph’s dream, the escape to Egypt, testing of faith, reception of the sages, and the Massacre of the Innocents in Bethlehem. The monastic complex was reconstructed, and the fresco was preserved during the period 1962 -1973. After the construction of a new lodging in 1990, the spiritual life of the monastery was renewed.