As has become a regular in Mojácar’s Christmas celebrations, the locality’s two most important religious communities came together for the Festival of Nine Lessons, a meeting of Catholic and Anglican faithful gathered around the reading of Genesis, in both languages, as well as an exchange of traditional Christmas carols from both cultures.
The celebration was officiated by the Mojácar Santa María Catholic Church Parish Priest,
Victor Manuel Fernández, and the Costa de Almería Anglican minister, Alwyn Carter.
As is customary, the gathering was held in the Mojácar Santa María Parish Church, and was attended by Spanish and British faithful, Catholics and Anglicans, who jointly and emotionally celebrated this time of Advent, a prelude to the most important days of the year for the faithful of both communities.
The readings by the faithful begin with the Old Testament. By the hand of the prophet Isiah the birth of Jesus is announced and through the apostles Luke, Matthew and John, the impact of his birth on the world is related. The lessons, in Spanish and English, are interspersed with Christmas carols, also typical of both cultures.
The Anglican tradition of holding the Nine Lessons Festival during Advent dates back to 1880, when the Archbishop of Canterbury designed the service for the eve of Christmas in Cornwall in the UK. It’s a service of nine short lessons from the Bible in which the story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus is usually outlined.
The ceremony ended with the performance by the British and Spanish faithful of the well-known carol “Adeste fideles” (O Come, All Ye Faithful), sung in the original Latin.
Decorated for Christmas, the Santa María Parish Church, has an addition to its original charm as a place of meditation, highlighting the Parish Nativity scene, which is always set up by the Mojácar parishioners.
The Nativity, of great beauty, is the work of the Murcian creator Jesús Griñán from the locality Puente Tocinos, where there are the best Nativity scene makers in Murcia, and which has a grand modelling tradition.
Although the central figures of the Nativity scene have been in the parish for a long time, new passages from the life of Jesus have been acquired over time from the same sculptor, so that today it is a display of great artistic and cultural value with moveable figures that recreate the different trades of the time.