Source: Basilica News Agency
December 23, 2015
Your Beatitude and Most Holy Daniel, Archbishop of Bucharest, Metropolitan of Wallachia and Patriarch of the Orthodox Autocephalous Church of Romania, our dearly beloved and cherished brother and concelebrant in Christ, we embrace Your venerable Beatitude fraternally in the Lord and greet you most joyfully.
Having reached the holy days of the inexpressible condescension and Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, we hasten with heartfelt love and esteem, as we do each year, to embrace Your illustrious Beatitude and Your entire Church, congratulating you that "God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" (Gal. 4:4-5).
All of creation rejoices at this event. The angels and the shepherds, the cave and the manger invite us to glorify God in the highest, worshipping the Saviour born as an infant. The Son and Word of God, the divine power and wisdom, is born unto us as an insignificant and defenseless child, subjected to humankind, in order tangibly to prove that "God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength" (1 Cor. 1:25), thereby establishing a "new creation in Christ" (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). This new period of God's grace implies a new understanding of the world, a new way of thinking and acting with indiscriminate love to all as our compass: "Love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:27 and 35).
Thus, the new-born child lives as the Son of man and the Son of God acquires the right to decide emphatically: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3), asking us to "be transformed by the renewing of our minds" (cf. Rom. 12:2) and "be infants in evil" (cf. 1 Cor. 14:20).
So today, after more than two thousand years, once again we experience the truly inconceivable event of the divine incarnation in a world of arrogance, where humanity believes in its own power and wisdom, provoking like another Herod numerous egregious acts throughout the world. As Christians, we feel a renewed sense of our obligation "like new-born babes, longing for the pure spiritual milk, to grow up to salvation" (cf. 1 Peter 2:2), and in complete trust to God's love, wisdom and power, "to submit ourselves and one another and all our life to Christ our God".
In this spiritual jubilance, we pray with all our soul and heart that the Divine Infant may deem Your beloved Beatitude worthy of many years and returns to celebrate these joyous feasts of our holy faith and to guide the faithful entrusted to You to secure and salvific ways, granting you health, joy and peace, filled with every sacred blessing and grace, in the new year of His grace.
Conveying once again our fraternal embrace in the new-born Christ, we remain with fraternal love and deep esteem.
Your venerable Beatitude's beloved brother in Christ,
† BARTHOLOMEW of Constantinople