February 9, 2017: yesterday traditional Christmas Readings were held for the 7th time at Taganrog municipal school No. 5. Among the participants were students and teachers from twenty-eight local secondary schools and representatives of Russian Orthodox Church of Taganrog diocese: monk-priest Joasaph (Taganrog St. George church) and priest Alexander (St. Mary-Magdalene church of Novobessergenovka). Within the international project International Project "The Heritage of Saints Cyril and Methodius in the modern world"
, the walls of the school halls were decorated with banners featuring quotes from the Gospel in 9 foreign languages: Old-Slavonic, Bulgarian, Serbian, Macedonian, Latin, English, German, French and Kyrgyz.
The highlight of the event was a live video communication between Khartsyzsk
Vocational School (Donetsk People's Republic) and fourteen schools of Taganrog, which was dedicated to Orthodox Christmas traditions. The children from the sister-city of Khartsyzsk
read their essays in Ukrainian language and poems in two languages: Ukrainian and Russian. The church music performed at the opening ceremony by the choir of Taganrog Orthodox Family and Youth Center was given an enthusiastic ovation by the audience, following which both sides read and discussed Chrismas carols.
Monk-priest Joasaph held a short greeting speech to the counterparts from Khartsyzsk and blessed them. Participants of the Christmas Readings decided to continue the successful cooperation between the schools. The event was completed with a traditional ball and waltz dance. At the conclusion the children from different schools had a tea-break with sweets and finalized their work in groups. Together they composed an express-magazine, where they reflected their impressions of this event. One of the foreign participants was Austria-based German author Ines Thalia Burkhardt, who wrote an essay about Christmas traditions in Austria, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg (Germany).