To the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and faithful believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
Christ is born, Glorify Him!
I wholeheartedly congratulate you all: God-loving Archpastors and pastors, honorable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters, with the great and joyous feast of Christmas, the nativity of our Savior and God incarnate, Lord Jesus Christ.
During these holy days, the plenitude of our Holy Ukrainian Orthodox Church offers its humble prayers, remembering and glorifying the inscrutable Divine love and thanking God for descending onto earth, and taking our human nature upon Himself in order to save us. St. Gregory of Nyssa states that the The Ancient of Days became a Child so as to make us all God’s children; He who sits in glory in Heaven for us, rests in the manger surrounded by mute animals of the field; Impassive, Incorporeal, Infinite, and wrapped in swaddling clothes in order to break the bonds of sin with which humanity was bound.
On these festive days, we remember with love and reverential astonishment the blessed night of Bethlehem, under the mysterious cover of which “ the great piety of the mystery was accomplished: God was made manifest in the flesh” (1 Tim.3:16). The Son of God was born at night, in order to dispel the spiritual night, in which sin has embraced humanity, and to remind us that He, our Savior and Lord, is “the True Light, Who enlightens every man coming into the world” (John 1: 9), to remind us that He is the Sun of Truth, with whom night becomes day and without which day becomes night.
How fortunate were Bethlehem’s shepherds who heard the Angelic singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2: 14). With trepidation, they stepped into the cave in Bethlehem and saw the Wondrous Infant God lying in a manger (Luke 2:16). Their minds could not fully comprehend, but by faith of the heart they realized that before them lay the One Who had once created Adam from virgin land and Who now, born of the Most Holy Virgin, weaved flesh unto Himself and Who descended onto earth as the New Adam.
The shepherds, by the faith of their hearts, realized that before them lay the Eternal God, who came to earth to save humanity, which He had created, and to destroy death, which He did not create (Wisdom 1: 13). The shepherds by the faith in their hearts also realized that in front of them lay the Good Shepherd, who “lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11) – leaving the ninety-nine sheep in order to find the one sheep which had lost its way (Matthew 18:12).
The wise Magi, the three Kings from the east, also came to the newborn God-Child, bringing precious gifts to Him : frankincense , gold and myrrh. It was revealed to the Magi that before them lies the “High Priest of good things to come” (Heb. 9: 11) and the “King of Kings” (Rev.19:16). The news that the King had come into the world (Matt. 2: 2) alarmed the overbearing king Herod, and then, throughout subsequent history, this message worried those who, like Herod, were possessed by the passion of lust. Power hungry people who did not want to have a king reigning over them, because in their pride they thought themselves to be superior to everyone else. The power hungry do not perceive power as the Cross, which God endows upon them, they believe that power is something that needs to be achieved by one’s own efforts , using all possible measures and means, regardless of their moral content. Power-loving people, even if they believe in Christ, do not submit to Christ, but on the contrary, try to force Christ to make them earthly kings. This was exactly what the Jewish elders demanded of our Savior, as a Messiah; but when they heard the words of our Savior, that His Kingdom was not of this world, they hated Christ and crucified Him.
The love of power is a medallion, on the reverse side of which is Theomachism. The love of power destroys all those who are obsessed with it, regardless of whether the individual is a worldly person or a person wearing the vestments of a high priest; it destroys everyone and everything.
This must be remembered, dear brothers and sisters. It is imperative that we recall that the Son of God descended onto earth in order to give us the eternal kingdom, the kingdom that is not of this world. The Son of God created the Church, which leads man to the eternal Kingdom and eternal life. The Church is the mysterious Body of Christ, and He, the Son of God, is our Savior, as well as its Head and Great Helmsman. All people, without exception, must obey the Church, that is, not lead it, but live by the laws of the Church. He who introduces the laws of lust for power and violence into the life of The Church, will become a foreign body to the Church; and, by the grace of God, will be, sooner or later cast out of the Church
Let not this happen to us, for Christ was born to unite us in the Truth, which is Christ Himself, so that in Christ we learn to know what God’s Will is, and accordingly we should try to live our lives according to His Divine Will, because God’s Will is our life.
Once again, may I congratulate you, dear brothers and sisters, with the feast of the Nativity of Christ, the New Church Year and with the upcoming feast of the Holy Epiphany. May the Son of God, who was born into the world and became the Son of Man, bless us all, our Ukrainian people and land. Let the Star of Bethlehem illuminate our earthly ways, so that we may lead our earthly wanderings in peace, with humility and mutual love, and be honored to spend eternity living in joy in a place where reigns our Eternal King, Master and Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine
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