Christmas Manger Scenes

Of course manger scenes are especially for children. And there is no need to explain why—the little ones are transported in their minds and heart to the manger of the Infant Christ in Bethlehem, not only at the festal services but also by gazing upon these mystical manger scenes.

They are most widespread in Italy, where you’ll see them at churches and public squares.

They are most widespread in Italy, where you’ll see them at churches and public squares.

People travel from all over to Naples, Italy to see the Presepe, or Nativity scenes, which are very elaborate there. Photo: Lagazettaitaliana.com.

Mexico especially loves Nativity Scenes.

Mexico especially loves Nativity Scenes.

Part of a nativity scene from the Church of the Company of Jesus in the city of Oaxaca. Joseph and Mary are dressed in Oaxacan costume. Photo: Wikipedia.com

Nativity scene

Nativity scene

Now you can see them in Russia, also, but of course, this tradition came to Orthodox countries from the West.

That is why manger scenes are most widespread in the Ukraine and in those regions of Russia that border with such countries as Estonia, for example.

That is why manger scenes are most widespread in the Ukraine and in those regions of Russia that border with such countries as Estonia, for example.

Manger scene in the Pskov-Caves Monastery, near the Estonian border.

Manger scene in Pskov-Caves Monastery

Manger scene in Pskov-Caves Monastery

These are the kind of manger scenes you’ll find in Ukraine.

These are the kind of manger scenes you’ll find in Ukraine.

Manger scene in the Kiev-Caves Lavra.

Manger scene in the Kiev-Caves Lavra.

This manger scene is set up near the Church of the Exaltation of the Cross on the territory of the near caves. Photo: Lavra.ua, 2010.

Manger scene on the Kreschatik, Kiev

Manger scene on the Kreschatik, Kiev

The first manger scene was set up on the Kreschatik in 2012—in pre-Maidan Kiev. Photo: Internet.

This manger scene was set up during the Maidan revolution in Kiev.

This manger scene was set up during the Maidan revolution in Kiev.

Photo: Internet.

But of course, now manger scenes are being set up in many churches.

But of course, now manger scenes are being set up in many churches.

By the Church of the “Assuage My Sorrow” Icon of the Mother of God in Maryno, Moscow. Photo: clir.ru.

Manger in Maryno.

Manger in Maryno.

By the Church of the “Assuage My Sorrow” Icon of the Mother of God in Maryno, Moscow. Photo: clir.ru.

They set them up in Australia.

They set them up in Australia.

By the Church of St. Charalampy, Greek Orthodox Church.

And in Kazakhstan.

And in Kazakhstan.

Manger scene by the Ascension Church in Alma-Ata. Photo: Traveladventures.org

A purely Russian tradition and joy—a manger scene made of snow.

A purely Russian tradition and joy—a manger scene made of snow.

A snow manger scene at the Holy Trinity Church in Tomsk. Photo: Pravoslavie.tomsk.ru.

Here’s what you see when you look inside.

Here’s what you see when you look inside.

Photo: Pravoslavie.tomsk.ru.

Snow mangers look very mystical.

Snow mangers look very mystical.

Snow manger in Academgorsk, Tomsk. Photo: Pravoslavie.tomsk.ru.

Under the snowcap of the manger

Under the snowcap of the manger

Photo: Pravoslavie.tomsk.ru.

A snow chapel.

A snow chapel.

By the Church of the Smolensk Icon of the Mother of God, Dubna, near Moscow.

Some manger scenes are made of ice.

Some manger scenes are made of ice.

The Ekaterinburg Cathedral in Tsarskoe Selo (near St. Petersburg). Photo: aquaviva.ru.

A new tradition for Russians: manger scenes with live animals.

A new tradition for Russians: manger scenes with live animals.

The first such manger scene appeared in Pyatigorsk (in the Caucasus Mountains) in 2013, near the Cathedral church. What is interesting is that the lambs lay the whole time at the feet of the figure of the Infant Christ. Photo: blago-kavkaz.ru.

Children love manger scenes with animals.

Children love manger scenes with animals.

The St. Sophia Cathedral, Tsarskoe Selo. Photo: mitropolia.spb.ru.

The manger dwellers: sheep, goats, and cows.

The manger dwellers: sheep, goats, and cows.

The St. Sophia Cathedral, Tsarskoe Selo. Photo: aquavivi.ru

And donkeys. A manger scene in Odessa, on Deribasovskaya Street.

And donkeys. A manger scene in Odessa, on Deribasovskaya Street.

There are even little lambs.

There are even little lambs.

A manger scene in Odessa, on Deribasovskaya Street, Odessa, Ukraine.

Manger scenes form an unforgettable atmosphere during the Christmas days.

Manger scenes form an unforgettable atmosphere during the Christmas days.

By the Sts. Constantine and Helen Cathedral in Kostanai, Kazakhstan. Photo: Pravosakh.ru

A manger scene in Tomsk

A manger scene in Tomsk

Pravosakh.ru

A manger scene by the Church of St. Nicholas in the Kamyskovaya Harbor, Sebastopol, Crimea.

A manger scene by the Church of St. Nicholas in the Kamyskovaya Harbor, Sebastopol, Crimea.

Photo: Crimea.orthodoxy.su.

 Togliatti (the Urals), in the yard of the Church of Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt

Togliatti (the Urals), in the yard of the Church of Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt

Photo: Pravoslavie-tlt.ru.

The Archangel Michael Church in Rubstovsk, Altai.

The Archangel Michael Church in Rubstovsk, Altai.

Photo: altai.aif.ru.

A refugee camp in Irbil, Iraq

A refugee camp in Irbil, Iraq

We must never forget during these days those who are in dire straights. This manger scene was built in 2013 by Christians fleeing ISIS, for their children. Photo: Matt Cardi/Getty Images.

Prepared by Anastasia Rakhlina

Photographs of these mangers scenes were used from diocesan websites, the Living Water website, and other open Internet sources.

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