06 January 2024
Dear brothers and sisters!
I cordially greet you on the bright and joyful Great Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Today, all people whose hearts are illuminated by faith in the Saviour gather spiritually under the Star of Bethlehem in the poor cave of the shepherds so as to glorify the Divine Christ Child, lying in a manger — the One Who came down from Heaven and became one of us for the sake of us and our salvation.
Christ brought with Himself peace and forgiveness, redemption of all sins, and victory over death. He opened the way to the Kingdom of God for us, the outcasts from paradise, and gathered God-loving people of all times and nations into His Church, our common Ark of salvation.
Only God and those who, opening their hearts for Him, become pure vessels for His Divine grace can unite, forgive, pacify, inspire, and give pure joy of heart.
The works of the devil are the opposite. It is he who tirelessly sows hatred and malice, pride and envy. He divides people, encourages enmity between people and quarrels, and tempts with mirages. The only thing that remains beyond his reach is our right to make a free choice.
Who were the first to rise up against Christ? Who gave the order to slay all the infants of Bethlehem, willing the death of the Son of God, and made the Holy Family leave their motherland and flee to a foreign country? The rulers and politicians, who saw Christ as a threat to their power over the minds and fates of people.
Who were the first to learn of the Saviour’s coming into the world, come to worship Him, believe in Him, and become His followers? Simple shepherds and wise Magi.
More than two thousand years later, nothing has, in fact, changed in the world. Politicians, blinded by all-permissiveness, are struggling against Christ and His Church, and ordinary people keep believing in God.
The pain and suffering we are experiencing today is a result of the fact that too many people have given in to temptation and have moved away from God and His commandments.
There is no God’s will in deaths and destructions. It is not God, Whose name is Love, that is the cause of the calamity which has befallen us. Is it possible to be saved from the troubles by continuing to stir up the infernal flame of war with mutual hatred? Can a people be united if everything around is built on outright lies and hypocrisy?
The answer is simple and complicated at the same time: without God, without His Truth, without our repentance before Him, without forgiving each other, there is no way out of the sinful dead end in which we all find ourselves, no way to a secure peace and the restoration of happy life, to unity and concord.
When I see how many people are swimming against the tide and following the light, choosing good and love, and doing works of mercy, I grow stronger in my faith that the grace of God will definitely overcome the darkness in souls, and that God-blessed peace will definitely reign in our long-suffering land.
I greet all of you, dear brothers and sisters, on the Feast of the Nativity of Christ.
I wish all of us to stand firm in the true faith, to always remain in the saving bosom of our Ukrainian Orthodox Church, to rally around our Primate, His Beatitude Metropolitan Onufriy, and to preserve our unity.
I wish all of us strength and health, courage and patience, peace and welfare, love for God and for one’s neighbour!
‘Christ is born! Glorify Him!’
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