One of the first events featured in the Mojácar Christmas programme is the one held by the two important churches that represent the religious life of the town.
The Festival of the Nine Lessons brings together Catholics and Anglicans, to focus on the words from Genesis, which are read in both languages, interspersed with traditional Christmas carols from both cultures and singing by the Embrujo Mojaquero Choir.
The celebration was officiated by the Santa María Catholic Church Priest, Miguel José Esteban Jerez, and the Reverend of San Pascual Anglican Church, Vincent Oram. Among those attending were Mojácar’s Mayor, Rosa María Cano, accompanied by her Councillors, María Luisa Pérez, Ana García, Raquel Belmonte, Agustín Montoya and Francisco García Cerdá.
The Anglican tradition of holding the Nine Lessons Festival during the advent season dates back to 1880, when the Archbishop of Canterbury designed the service for Christmas Eve in Cornwall, England. The readings begin with the Old Testament and end with the Gospel of Luke, following the story of man’s the fall and the promise of a new covenant with the birth of Jesus Christ.
To add to the evening event, the traditional Church nativity scene had been put together by Mojácar’s parishioners. This beautiful belén, as they are called here in Spain, features the work of the Murcian creator, Jesús Griñán, from the town of Puente Tocinos, renowned for this great minature modelling tradition.
Although the central figures of the nativity scene have been in the Church for a long time, new depictions of Jesus’s life of have been acquired over time from the same sculptor, so it has now evolved into a display of great artistic and cultural value.
As every year, many of the Catholic and Anglican faithful came along from Mojácar’s many different nationalities to the Santa María Church, to jointly celebrate these advent dates as a prelude to some of their most important religious days of the year.