Christ is born! Glorify Him!
To the Honorable Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,
My Beloved Brethren and Blessed Children in the Lord,
It is my joy and privilege to greet all of you on the radiant feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. In some 700 communities large and small sprinkled across the North American continent, from Canada, to the United States and Mexico, we gather together to celebrate the wonder of God’s entry into human history. For many in our society this message is still as foolish as it was in the first century. But we continue to stand with the saints beside the manger, the Cross and the empty tomb to proclaim God’s sacrificial love for us and for His Creation. As we sing on Christmas Day:
I will give thanks to Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart;
I will make all Thy wonders known
In the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord!
They are studied by all who have pleasure in them!
His work is glory and beauty, and His righteousness endures forever.
—Christmas Day, 1st Antiphon (Psalm 111:1-3)
Truly, “Great are the works of the Lord!”
He sees a world filled with suffering and He Himself voluntarily suffers to make a path to healing.
He sees a world dying and He Himself dies to bring resurrection and unending life.
He sees a world in darkness and He Himself enters that darkness to bring a divine light that can never be extinguished.
He sees a world in bondage to the forces of evil and He submits Himself to that evil in order to destroy it forever.
The God Who is “ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible and eternally the same” empties Himself of power and divine privilege. He becomes a weak, fragile human being in order to share fully in our broken existence and in so doing offers the possibility of a life in communion with Him, with each other, and with all creation.
May our Lord bless each of you, your communities, and your families as you celebrate His Nativity and serve Him.
With love in the New-Born Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
With love in Christ,
“Give me a word!”
What more to say, what shall I expound on? The new wonders do strike me with awe. The Ancient of Days is become a Child, to make people children of God. Sitting in glory in the Heavens, because of His love for mankind, He now layeth in a manger of dumb beasts. The Inpassionate, Incorporeal, Incomprehensible One is taken by human hands, in order to atone the violence of sinners and the iniquitous and free them of their slavery, to be wrapped in swaddling cloths and be nourished on the knees of Woman, so that shame be transformed into honor, the impious to be led to glory, and in place of thorns a crown. He hath taken on my body, so that I be made capable to have within myself His Spirit—He hath appropriated unto Himself (my nature), being garbed in my body, and doth give unto me His Spirit, so that I, giving and in turn receiving, might discover the treasure of life.
+St Gregory Thaumatourgos
The science of astronomy has learned and affirms that, in the order of creation, our earth is but a barely-noticeable point; that millions of worlds around our own fill up the vastnesses of space. And, lo! this single point, this barely-noticeable globe of God’s creation, being inhabited by men, – has been accounted worthy of the inexpressible honour of bearing upon itself God-in-the-Flesh, the God-Man….
+St John of Kronstadt