Nativity Epistle of the Most Reverend Andronik,

Bishop of Richmond Hill and New York,

to the God-fearing flock of the North American

and Canadian District

of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad.

 

 

“Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,

Has shone upon the world with the light of knowledge”

 

 

Most Honorable Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Christ is Born! Glorify!

 

            I congratulate all of you with all my heart with the grand and glorious feast day of the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ!

 

            Throughout all time, the Nativity of Christ was and is a feast day commemorating the fulfillment of the promised coming to earth of the Only-begotten Son of God, the Eternal Word, by whom all that is visible and invisible is created and imbued.  He came down, taking on our temporal existence and partaking of all as we do except for sin: “…Christ is born and the fallen is transformed in his image.”  This truth was given to us by the legions of angels, who heralded God with song: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:13-14)

 

            Eternal God becomes a child, the Unencompassable lies in a manger, swaddling cloth binds Him who created heaven and earth, a blanket protects the Protector of heaven and earth in all His majesty.  It occurs in a manger, as “there was no room at the inn.”

 

            The Holy Church revels in and celebrates this day along with the heavenly bodies, trumpeting the glorious event – the Nativity of Christ.  That which was planned from the beginning of time by God has taken place – the appearance of our Savior Jesus as a man.  The Old Testament prophesies about Christ have been fulfilled – “has shone upon the world with the light of knowledge” – lighting the way for all on earth.

 

            The incarnation of the Son of God is an essential belief given to us by our heavenly Father for all those who believe in Him.  He who holds fast to it for all his time while sailing on the sea of life will not drown in the sinful deep.  Instead, he will reach the quiet harbor in heaven.  He who disregards this belief of salvation will fall away from the Church of Christ through schism or lack of faith, or because of jealousy or love of money, which is the “root of all evil,” as said in the Gospel.

 

            The sons and daughters of the Church of Christ must believe in Christ our Savior with all their hearts and stand fast with the Church of Christ, as it is the only vessel of salvation.  They must learn unceasingly from the word of God and His Holy Commandments; base their lives on the Holy Canons and Laws of the Holy Fathers, and with all their might strive to cleanse their thoughts and passions of the heart.  They must strive to be one with our Lord through the sacrament of Holy Communion; to battle sin with all their might and live with a love for all and to do good at all times.

 

 

            Remember, my loved ones, that when “…you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.” (Nehemiah 1:9)

 

            The Nativity of Christ grants us all a treasure, which has no equal.  Christianity is an invaluable gift for mankind – it gives meaning to life.  By knowing the Truth, mankind is set free, and it leads him, like a mother who loves her child, to Eternity.

 

            To know who is the Path and Truth and Life (John 14:4) must be the fundamental basis of our spiritual life, of our personal confession of faith before God and mankind.  In our confession of faith, it is important to learn how to share with love and humility the joy of Christianity with those who have not yet partaken of goodness and that which is eternal, who have not discerned the light of the Star of Bethlehem which shows us the way out of the darkness of sin, and who seek life-affirming meaning for their lives.

 

            All joys are manifest on this day; the newborn infant, eternal God, is born for our sake!

 

I congratulate you all with the feast day of the Nativity of Christ!

 

Amen.

 

+ Andronik

Bishop of Richmond Hill and New York

 

The Nativity of Christ, 2007-2008, New York