CHRISTMAS 2018

On the occasion of Our Lord’s Nativity Feast, Romfilatelia marks this important event for Christianity through the postage stamp issue Christmas 2018. The two stamps of the issue, both with the face value of Lei 1.50, depict icons from the collection of the Bucharest Patriarchal Residence Chapel, dedicated to the Great Holy Martyr George, representative for this holiday, namely, the icon The Annunciation and the icon Our Lord’s Birth.

The Chapel of the Great Holy Martyr George, belonging to the Patriarchal Residence and considered as the jewel of the Patriarchate assembly, is a marvelous architectonic monument dating back to the first half of the 18th century, during the reign of Nicolae Mavrocordat, and it was restored in 2011. Despite its small sizes, it is highly valuable, as we may admire on the exterior, the refinement of the architectonic elements and the richness of sculptures, while in the interior we may see many treasures of the religious art – frescoes made about 1723 by master Teodosie, who belonged to the Art School of Hurezi; the iconostasis masterfully sculptured and covered in gold leaf; mosaics illustrating Saint George and Mother of God.

The icon showing The Annunciation is dedicated to Mother of God, who is announced by Archangel Gabriel that she will give birth to the Holy Child. Once with this wonderful piece of news, Virgin Mary received Christ, in her body and soul. This icon belonging to iconostasis stands between gilded small columns and by other ornamental elements.

The icon showing Our Lord’s Birth, one of the most appreciated and valuable Christian icons, is a recent one and it was brought from Holy Putna Monastery. It is placed on the tetrapod at the church services taking place in the Chapel of the Patriarchal Residence. It is full of significations by combining celestial elements (the angels on the right and left sides, the guiding star), human elements (the represented characters) and the interceding ones, that unite the divine to the human (Mother of God with the Infant, the shepherds, the magi and the cave), as a proof that the whole Creation witnessed this major event.

Our Lord’s Birth, one of the greatest Christian holidays celebrated on December 25th, marks the event that took place more than two thousand years ago in the Judea Bethlehem, when Virgin Mary gave birth to the Holy Child, who was going to become Messiah. Jesus was born in a cave since nobody wanted to shelter Mary. Yet, the popular tradition speaks about the existence of an old couple, Christmas and Lady Christmas, who felt pity about Mary and helped her while giving birth, though initially had not received the Virgin Mary.

Initially, the Birth of the Holy Child was not celebrated on December 25th, as it was celebrated on January 6th, but in the second half of the 4th century it started to be feasted at this time.

Traditionally, Our Lord’s Birth, also called Christmas, is a celebration of the entire family, of kindness, forgiveness and reconciliation. It brings joy to the souls of the believers who participate to the church services taking place in all churches, and of the fervor with which they prepare themselves for this celebration after a long fasting period by preparing specific dishes and taking part in the season customs – caroling, the receipt of Santa Claus’s gifts, the decoration of the Christmas tree, and of their houses and trees with lights and garlands as well as with mistletoe meant to hallmark the Birth of Jesus in an atmosphere of optimism, hope and joy.

On Christmas, Romfilatelia team wishes Happy Holidays to all stamp lovers and their families. Let’s honour in humbleness Our Lord and Savior’s Birth!

 Romfilatelia would like to thank His Beatitude Daniel, the Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church, and the representatives of “The Great Holy Martyr George” Chapel in the Bucharest Patriarchal Residence, for their documentary and photographic support granted for the achievement of this postage stamp issue.