Orthodox Christmas in Calais


It has become a tradition for Maria Skobtsova House to enable the Eritrean and Ethiopian refugee community in Calais to celebrate Orthodox Christmas and Easter. Thanks to wonderful support from Father Bryan and Father Pierre, from Sister Henriette and Sister Monique, from Veronique, Sister Francoise, Martine, MSH volunteers and the incredible cooking team (Eritrean and Ethiopian women guests in MSH) this year’s Orthodox Christmas celebration was a memorable day. 60 of the refugee community came for prayer in St Joseph’s church, led by 3 Orthodox deacons from within the community, and 150 came for the celebratory  meal afterwards.


For 2 days, MSH kitchen was a hive of activity:Preparing Hambasha bread 

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Hambasha bread


400 Injera were made


Stirring the Xigni (Eritrean/Ethiopian beef stew) on a burner in the courtyard

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150 hard-boiled eggs, the final addition to the Xigni


Shoes are always removed before prayer

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Orthodox Christmas Prayer Service, St Joseph’s Calais

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The Three Orthodox Diakons, in white prayer shawls, leading prayer


Nativity scene and Orthodox Selassie (Trinity) in front of St Joseph’s altar. The Selassie was formerly in the Big Jungle Orthodox Church (demolished 2016).

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Injera Xigni

The Feast is served: injera, xigni, salad

One thought on “Orthodox Christmas in Calais

  1. Hi AlecThanks a lot for this. It is really good to read your text. I am off a week on Sat to London then Calais on 4th. Are you back in Scotland? FlorenceIf you want peace work for justice


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