Nativity of our Lord - 12/16/07
PERMANENT CONFERENCE OF UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX BISHOPS BEYOND THE BORDERS OF UKRAINE
A spiritual message to the beloved clergy and faithful entrusted to our spiritual care throughout the world and to our brothers and sisters in the Faith throughout Ukraine as we celebrate Nativity of our Lord and God and Savior – Jesus Christ – 2007
Dearly beloved Brothers and Sisters,
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
Once again the never ending passage of time carries our thoughts back the Holy Night of the Nativity of the Son of God – our Merciful Redeemer and Savior – Jesus Christ.
All the earth and all mankind relive the holiest of this Nativity night. The thoughts of all follow the Bethlehem shepherds and the Wise Men from the East to Bethlehem and to the cave of Christ’s nativity. On this night the Bethlehem cave became the holiest place on earth. Holy thoughts, elevated feelings, prayers and hymns surround this cave – the birthplace of the Savior of the world…and the first hymn of the holy angels resounds over Bethlehem on the holy night of the Nativity of our Savior: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth and good will among men” (Luke 2:14) – is new and real – not old and dead. Our devout Ukrainian nation celebrates on this Great Feast singing its native carols, which have profound meaning and proclaim the Holy Truth.
The Lord born to us – the Messiah for all mankind – has brought this Divine Truth. As the Prince of Peace, He has given mankind the Law of Love. He gave birth to a great hope, a hope that the time will come when war will be abolished, offensiveness and hatred among men will disappear and mankind will follow the Path of God to Divine approval and eternal peace.
Observing the ever changing world around us, we are awed by the fact that empires have come and gone, rulers and governments change with every passing day, dictators, despots and conquerors – each having his day – have passed on through the pages of history. In our cities and villages, in our communities and in our families we also see certain changes. Most certainly, we will continue to see changes and with them other problems. Where will we go to find peace and tranquility? To whom will we turn for peace, a sense of balance and for strength? It is to our Lord Jesus Christ that we must turn – the real Advisor. He waits for us to make room for Him in our hearts, to provide us with peace, joy, a sense of balance and abundance of life – all from His Grace and Mercy.
Of all that has come and gone, amongst the rapid daily changes, only one kingdom remains unchanged – this is the Kingdom, which was initiated in the little land of Palestine, in the tiny city of Bethlehem. The King, Who was born in the cave, Who was laid in a manger, Who was rejected by mankind but became a sacrifice for them on the Cross – He reigns. He reigns in Heaven at the Right Hand of the Father amongst His holy angels. He reigns in every heart, which opens itself to receive Him. He reigns in His Holy Church, which follows His Holy Gospel and casts aside all other authorities. Our Heavenly Father has said of Him: “He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Most High…and of His Kingdom there shall be no end”. (Luke 1:32-33)
Our Savior, Whose Nativity we celebrate, He is the “Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father”. (Isaiah 9:6) Let us, therefore, come to Him, let us offer Him our meaningless lives and He will give us peace, direction and a goal for our life. Let us offer Him our weakness and He will give us strength. To overcome our sorrow, He will give us joy. Let us come to Him in our sinfulness, He will give us forgiveness and lead us to perfection. Glory to God Who reigns! God is with us!
Dearly beloved in Christ! We greet you on the occasion of the Great Nativity Feast. May it lift our souls to heavenly heights. May the New Year – 2008 – bring us all good health, prosperity, inner peace and joy in Jesus Christ.
CHRIST IS BORN! GLORIFY HIM!
+ CONSTANTINE – Metropolitan, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA and in Diaspora
+ JOHN – Metropolitan, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
+ ANTONY – Archbishop, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+ VSEVOLOD – Archbishop, Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA
+ IOAN – Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora – Australia and New Zealand Eparchy
+ YURIJ – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada
+ JEREMIAH – Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA – Eparchy of South America
+ ANDRIJ – Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Diaspora – Western Europe Eparchy