The children of St George’s Cathedral Sunday School in Cape Town once again revived the truly meaningful and cultural Christmas tradition of the Karavaki held at the Archbishopric in Rondebosch on Saturday 12th December. Those present included the Consul of Romania, Mr Nicolae Zaharescu and family, Mr Nassos Martalas president of the Hellenic Community of Cape Town and his wife, Father Nikolaos, parish priest at the Cathedral of St George with his family and the newly ordained Deacon Father Nicholas Esterhuizen.
His Eminence, Archbishop Sergios, gave his opening address, welcoming everyone from the all the Orthodox Communities and praising our children, parents and Sunday School teachers for keeping these important core values and traditions of our Orthodox faith alive. He emphasised that events such as these are intentionally informal because we want to encourage the children to enjoy themselves and learn about our faith in a natural way. His Eminence also mentioned that the events held by the Church, such as these and St Mamas Day when we bless the household pets are planned with the focus on Family life in order to assist the parents to introduce their children to their faith and to support them in their difficult task of protecting their children from the many temptations they are faced with. His Eminence said he would like to see more participation of all the Orthodox Communities and that our next event will be held on Sunday 10 January which is the day of Epiphany when the children dive for the cross at the Orthodox Centre. He concluded by thanking Father Nikolaos for his dedication to the Parish and for supporting our children and their parents and always being there for them.
After his address, everyone was enchanted by the children who entertained us with touching and heart-felt performances in a beautiful and unusual rendition of the Nativity play. They built up an eloquent icon puzzle, piece by piece, as they enacted the events that lead up to the moment the world is waiting for … the birth of Christ. But then the play switched to our modern-day home and a family situation we all know — the children all love the build-up to Christmas Day but then it’s all over. Or is it?
We were delighted to discover that Christmas is only the beginning of the celebrations in a an Orthodox home, which go on for 12 days until January 6 when we celebrate Christ’s Baptism by St John the Baptist in the river Jordan. There was also the story of Saint Basil and the Vasilopita. The children also sang carols and were accompanied by their own little string quartet and the audience was encouraged to join in.
Finally it was time for the countdown to switching on the lights of the Karavaki and everyone expressed their joy when the boat burst into phosphorescent shimmering light, which was even more splendid this year than ever.
Refreshments and the delicious nistisimo snacks were served and there was a lot of fun, laughter, and chatting well into the night. Everyone was thoroughly delighted with this memorable evening and it certainly made a good start to the Christmas season.
We wish you all a Blessed Christmas and New Year.