To the Most Reverend Bishops, devout clergymen, and all faithful and reverent brethren of Russian Orthodox Old Believer Church.
CHRIST IS BORN, GLORIFY HIM!
Magnify, O my soul, the Christ the King Who was born in the cave.
Most Reverend hierarchs, Reverend fathers and all the beloved in Christ brothers and sisters!
I cordially congratulate you on the great holy feast of the Birth of the Lord God and our Savior Jesus Christ!
More than two thousand years ago, on a starry night, the long-awaited Savior was born, and with him, God’s all-conquering Love entered our world, full of sins, suffering, fear, and bitterness.
St. Ephrem the Syrian describes this marvelous event: “a Great miracle happened in the land: come upon her, the Lord of all, God made man, the Ancient of Days became a baby, the Lord has become like the servant and the Son of Tsar – needy. Who will not be astonished to see the Lord of Angels being born? Without inquisitiveness, believe and keep it so.” And the Church of Christ will never cease to sing of this great and wondrous miracle.
Born in the flesh, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, out of boundless love for us, sinners and unworthy, endured in His earthly life temptations and needs, hunger and thirst, torment, and shameful death on the Cross. For this mercy, we should praise and thank the Lord forever. Having shown meekness and humility in the work of our salvation, Christ came into the world not as a terrible and righteous Judge, but, on the contrary, in the form of a defenseless child, to teach us purity and simplicity, childlike kindness, for the Gospel says: “Truly I say to you unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18: 3). We are all children of the Heavenly Father, therefore we must always do what is pleasing to our Father, in Christ, to fulfill His laws and commandments, to always rejoice, and thank our Savior for everything.
The Lord came into the world to teach us sacrificial love for everyone, especially those who need help and attention. And today, when sorrow and despondency, fear and lack of faith, troubles, and diseases are multiplying in the world, we will imitate the Lord with all our heart, showing our love, care, and mercy to our neighbors.
Then, perhaps, we will learn the great love that Christ brought into the world and with which He accepts and saves us, sinners, from eternal perdition. The Lord calls us to love not only our friends and benefactors but also those who hate and offend us, to love with a measure that calls us to “lay down our lives for our friends” (John 15: 1).
Let us go with love and selflessness to all those who are sick and suffering, to all the poor and unhappy, and let us pray for their salvation and healing from spiritual and physical ailments, as the Lord calls us – if we need to die for their salvation so that they will come to life for eternal life.
Dear brothers and sisters! I call on you to pray unceasingly for peace in the world, for the multiplication of love and compassion for others, for the granting of deep faith and repentance to all, for the sending down of strength and prosperity to our Fatherland. I wish you good mental and physical health in the new year, strength, patience, and humility. Let us hope more for God’s help in all earthly trials, constantly visiting the temple, observing fasting and abstinence, doing no offense or harm to anyone, and God will certainly give us health and help us overcome all sorrows and adversities.
Once again, I congratulate you on the great Christmas celebration. May the great joy of Christ the God-born in Bethlehem triumph in our hearts! May He overshadow us all with His grace!
May the God of peace and love and my archpastoral blessing be with you all!
By the grace of God, the humble Korniliy
Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia