To cross the sea, you need a ship—you won’t cross it by swimming. In order to cross the sea of life and to reach the Kingdom of God, you must enter the ship of the Church, for only on the ship of the Church can you cross the stormy sea of life and reach the Kingdom of God. To enter the Church is possibly only through the Sacrament of Baptism.
That is a great and ineffable gift! But every gift, every right, also imposes obligations on us. And the higher the right, the higher the obligation. What is the obligation, the duty imposed on us by the Holy Baptism?
Icons of the Theophany had already appeared in the first centuries of Christianity and recorded for us not only the Savior’s Baptism at the hands of St. John the Forerunner, but most importantly His manifestation to the world as the incarnate Son of God and a Person of the Holy Trinity, about which the Father and the Holy Spirit bear witness, the latter by descending upon Christ in the form of a dove.
The elder, who just celebrated his 85th birthday in 2017, almost never speaks about himself, but he made an exception for the sake of the feast. This is a story about Nativity in a long and arduous, but joyful life, through which shines the 2,000-year history of this truly central event in human life…
The Pravoslavie.ru website asked Archimandrite Vasily (Pasquiet) to share his memories of the newly-departed ascetic, since he had met with Fr. Placide on many occasions, and it was under his (Fr. Placide’s) influence that he once converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy.
The two weeks between the feast of the Nativity of Christ and His Theophany have in Orthodox lands always been a time spent glorifying Christ in families and communities. With this spilling over of joy in the birth of our Savior came the tradition of walking from house to house singing carols, to bring the grace and peace of Christ’s Nativity to those around us.
The sole path to destroying sinful consequences is to destroy the sin itself. Christ the Savior, by His Nativity, by taking upon Himself our human nature, brought Divine power to Earth, with the help of which every man can and should overcome his sins, even if they are very great and heavy.
For almost two thousand years, iconographers have been painting icons and frescos of the Nativity, on which we can see the swaddled Infant in the manger, the Mother of God, Joseph, the animals at the manger, as well as the adoration of the Magi, the washing of the infant, the shepherds, and the angels.
In honor of the great feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, we present here a collection of Nativity encyclicals from some of our Orthodox primates from around the world, which help to expound upon the depth of meaning of the feast and to draw our hearts and minds to greater attention and devotion to the Lord and His saving will for us.
On this night, God’s grace appeared, the Savior of all people (Tit. 2:11). On this night, the angels hymn the glory of the Most High God. This night is filled with exaltation, because the infinite and eternal God became Man.
The whole earth will know the Lord, and it will mend minds and hearts, and make all meek, and life peaceful and joyful. Perhaps it will be because the prophesied Messiah will be not an earthly ruler of the universe, but the Pre-Eternal God, the Savior of the world. Faith in Him, hope in Him, and love for Him will make the whole new world—the Universal Church, and those faithful to Him—blessed.
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.