To celebrate the Nativity of Christ, Romfilatelia has prepared, like every year, the postage stamps issue with the theme “Christmas”, consisting of two stamps, a perforated souvenir sheet, a First Day Cover and a special philatelic product with silver stamp.
The issue “Christmas 2023” will be introduced into circulation on Thursday, November 23rd.
The stamp with the face value of Lei 3.10 reproduces the image of an icon with the subject of the Nativity, and the one with the face value of Lei 12, the image of an icon with the theme of the Annunciation. The stamp, with the face value of Lei 35, of the perforated souvenir sheet, reproduces the image of a silver-plated icon with the Virgin Mary and Child as its subject.
Christmas or the Nativity of the Lord (the Birth of Jesus Christ) is a major Christian holiday celebrated on December 25th (New Style, Gregorian calendar) or January 7th (Old Style, Julian calendar), every year. The celebration is one of the 12 Great Feasts of the Byzantine Church. Christmas is also declared a legal holiday in some countries where Christians are in the majority.
The beginning of the 20th century also marks Christmas as a secular holiday, celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike as an occasion for the exchange of gifts, or for children of “gifts from Santa Claus”.
Christmas began to be celebrated by Christians on December 25th, at least three centuries after the beginning of the apostles’ evangelistic mission, namely in the 4th century in the West and from the 5th century in the East. Originally the feast of the birth of Christ was celebrated on January 6th, based on the view that “Jesus was revealed as the Son of God at his Baptism.”
A holiday, popular in Rome, celebrated on December 25th the birth of the undefeated Sun (Nati, Deus Sol Invictus), as a symbol of the rebirth of the sun and the banishment of winter. It is thus agreed that there are frequent analogies between the rebirth of the Sun and the birth of Christ (Christ is the ‘Light of the World’).
The images reproduced on the postage stamps of the „Christmas 2023” issue belong to icons from the patrimony of the “Saint Mina Vergu” Church in Bucharest, built in 1725 by the boyar Vergu and Ancuța Doamna (Lady Ancuța).
It is believed that Domnița Ancuța (Lady Ancuța) was the daughter of Constantin Vodă Brâncoveanu (Ruler Constantin Brâncoveanu), married to Ianache Văcărescu.
Earthquakes and fires have caused great damage to the building, which has required several repairs and transformations. The repair and rebuilding of the church in 1900 was carried out with the financial contribution of the Mayor of the Capital Constantin F. Robescu. After the 1940 earthquake, a radical restoration was undertaken. The church was also completely repainted between 1980 and 1981, and a new iconostasis was added in 1991.
The church had three patronages: Holy Great Martyr Demetrius, the Myrrh-Gusher, (celebrated on October 26th), Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel (celebrated on November 8th), Holy Great Martyr Mina (celebrated on November 11th). The icon of Saint Mina is covered in golden embroidery and was brought in 1847, having remained intact after a fire in the Stelea church. The relics of Holy Great Martyr Mina were brought from the “Prodromu” Monastery on Mount Athos in 1874 by emissaries sent to Mount Athos who told of the miraculous rescue (from the fire) of the Saint’s icon.
Romfilatelia thanks His Beatitude Father Patriarch Daniel for the High Resolution, blessing and the representatives of the Church of St. Mina Vergu in Bucharest, for the documentary support granted to the development of this issue of postage stamps.