Nativity Epistle 2019

    

To the Venerable Clergy, God-Loving Monastics and Pious Faithful
of Great Britain, Ireland and Western Europe

Dear in Christ, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!

Christ is born! Glorify Him! With profound joy and deepest humility we find that the Heavenly Father has once again permitted us to arrive at the birth of His Son. From the darkness of ignorance, we have been called to bear witness to the coming of the Light; and beholding the glory of this longed-for incarnation, we cry out together with our great Archpastor: ‘I behold a new and wondrous mystery … the Ancient of Days has become an infant; He Who sits upon the sublime and heavenly Throne, now lies in a manger; and He Who cannot be touched .. now lies embraced in the hands of men’ (St John Chrysostom, Homily on the Nativity).

The depth of this Mystery — that the eternal Son of the Father should take flesh and enter into the world He had fashioned — must never cease to fill us with the saint’s sense of wonder. Christ does not enter into human life merely as a sign or consolation, but in order to transform and sanctify that life: my life, and yours. As St John goes on to say, ‘Taking my flesh, He gives me His spirit; and so, He bestowing and I receiving, He prepares for me the treasure of Life. He takes my flesh, to sanctify me; He gives me His Spirit, that He may save me.’

The Nativity of our Saviour is the reality that grounds our profound hope as Christian people. Our God does not view His world from afar off, looking down upon creation from a distance; rather, He enters into our world — a world we mar too often with anger, judgement, fear and rebellion — and takes the creation we have scarred as His own, healing it by uniting it to Himself. It is into this world, in all its frailty and fallenness, that the Lord comes. From all eternity He dwells in the heavens, beyond the grasp of all created things; and yet, out of love, He makes Himself accessible to creation, humbly accepting its most meagre lot. ‘He became flesh, so that He Whom heaven could not contain, a manger would this day receive.’

I pray that on this day of His birth in the flesh, His incomprehensible love for us will give birth in each of you to a deeper love for Him. There is so much sorrow in the world: but today we meet its source of joy — and into the mangers of our own hearts, humble and dark and unworthy, Christ comes anew, bearing His Father’s love. To Him, then, Who in the confusion of our lives has wrought a clear path into His Kingdom, let us dedicate our lives, our hearts, and all the glory with which we sing: Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Bishop of Richmond and Western Europe
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

+IRENEI

See also
Nativity 2019 Epistle of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine Nativity 2019 Epistle of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine
The Son of God Was Born at Night to Dispel the Spiritual Night
Nativity 2019 Epistle of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine The Son of God Was Born at Night to Dispel the Spiritual Night
Nativity 2019 Epistle of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine
Metropolitan Onuphry (Berezovsky)
In these festive days we remember with love and reverent wonder the blessed Bethlehem night, under the mysterious cover of which was carried out the great mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16). The Son of God was born at night to dispel the spiritual night by which sin had encompassed mankind and to remind us that He, our Savior and Lord, is the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (Jn. 1:9) and that He is the Light of Truth with which the night becomes day and without which the day becomes night.
Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
Brothers and sisters, observing world events, let us not fall into despair, alarm and fear, but hasten in a spiritual sense “up the mountain,” so that, girding ourselves with humble gratitude for everything that God sends us, with staff in hand, begin our ascent “to the mountain of the Lord.”
Christmas Message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia Christmas Message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Christmas Message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia Christmas Message by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
Let us, then, bow reverently before the humble manger where the quiet and meek Infant lies. Let us bow down with the fear of God and trembling, for it is here that there begins the earthly way of the cross of the Lord Jesus, it is here that our salvation begins.
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