Nativity Epistle of the Permanent Conference of Ukrainian Orthodox Hierarchs Beyond the Borders of Ukraine
To The Reverend Clergy and all Faithful Children in the Diaspora and Ukraine!
Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
has shone upon the world with the light of knowledge:
for thereby they who adored the stars
through a star were taught to worship Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee the Dayspring from on high,
O Lord, glory to Thee. (tropar of the feast)
Beloved in the Lord Brother Clergy!
God-beloved Brothers and Sisters!
Christ is Born!
During this holy night of the Nativity of Christ accept our heartfelt greeting on the great occasion of the joyful Feast of the Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank our Lord God that He has given us the opportunity to enter with you into festive unity and to wish that the festive grace would touch your hearts with the power of faith, hope and love for the victory of good over evil.
In accordance with God’s will we again have been found worthy to greet this solemn day, when Heaven and earth together praise the God-infant Christ, born in a meager stable in Bethlehem. An angel announced this great event: “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people: for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:10-11).
This Divine Light came to us more than two thousand years ago. Christ came to sinful people, who to this day abide in the darkness of sin and apostasy. “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him”, writes the Holy Apostle John the Theologian, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12).
The human mind will never understand the Mystery of the Incarnation in Bethlehem. This mystery demands a firm faith and humble love, founded not upon greedy motivations, but upon a living response of the human heart to the Evangelical news of the Savior.
Truly, how can the mind understand that the Creator of this world, both visible and invisible, appears Himself on earth in human flesh? How can we understand that He Who circumscribes the entire universe and Whose word cannot be contained by the whole world dwells in a small manger, in a poor stable in Bethlehem, and is born of an earthly virgin?
Undoubtedly, as the Holy Hierarch Gregory the Theologian says, the mystery of the Nativity of Christ cannot be comprehended by the mind, because it is above the laws of nature. But that which is impossible for the mind is possible for the heart; and that which the wise men could not initially believe was revealed in simplicity to the illiterate shepherds.
God became incarnate on earth so that we would be deified with Him by His grace. This path to the unity of man with God begins with the humble acceptance of the joyful news of the Birth of Christ, with repentance for all the sins of our life, and a firm resolve to begin a new life keeping and fulfilling all of God’s commandments.
For this, dear brothers and sisters, we require not a small amount of labor, which we offer to God during our earthly life, and which cannot be compared to that wealth of joy, light and warmth which the Lord gives to His followers here on earth and a hundredfold in His Heavenly Kingdom.
Dearly beloved in the Lord!
The Nativity of Christ coincides with the beginning of a New Year, and so, entering this new Year of the Lord let us try to draw all needful conclusions from this past year of 2010. May every one of us admit our past mistakes and sins, correct them, repent, and firmly promise to never repeat them. Approaching the manger of the God-infant Christ today, let us abandon by His feet all of our troubles and unrighteousness and begin a new life – that life for the sake of which Jesus was born.
The source of our spiritual joy and the earnest of our eternal life is faith in the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, the faith which lived in and comforted our parents, grand-parents and great-grandparents, the faith which gave them, gives us, and will give our descendants joy in life, joy in repentance, joy in prayer and joy in good deeds.
Meeting and celebrating the feast of the Nativity of Christ and entering a New Year of the Love of God, we extend heartfelt greetings to the reverend spiritual fathers and the members of our Ukrainian diaspora throughout the world. May God’s generous blessing rest upon all of us, may our work for the good and happiness of our people be successful and fruitful. May the coming New Year be a “year of the Lord’s mercy” for all of us, a year of good health, spiritual joy, familial happiness, and Divinely blessed good will and good fortune for our Ukrainian people and Church in Ukraine and in the Diaspora. Be in harmony with one another and the God of peace and love will be among you.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
The Nativity of Christ 2010/2011
With Archpastoral Blessings,
Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and the Diaspora
Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Metropolitan-Emeritus of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Archbishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora
Archbishop of the South American Eparchy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
Bishop of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA