RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH ABROAD
P.O. Box 591
Valley Cottage, N.Y.10989

                                                                                              25 December / 7 January  2010

Nativity Epistle of the
Most Reverend Andronik
Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,
good will toward men.

The angels of God sang these praises on the night of the Nativity of Christ.

Filled with the same gladness, I, your unworthy servant,congratulate you, my friends, with the glorious feast day of the Nativity of Christ.

Christ was born to restore the being of the fallen, since mankind in the person of Adam sinned and lost its original state.  The Wisdom of God set forth that the promised Messiah was born of the Virgin Mary as an ordinary person, but His birth was extraordinary without a father and therefore sinless.  This is a hidden secret, exceeding the reason of man, the mystery of incarnation, which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12).

In this way, God, through the incarnation of the Son of God, gave us the opportunity to become the children of God.

What shall we sinners give Him in return?  Firstly, to be faithful to Him as He said in the Apocalypse: be faithful to the end and I shall give thee a crown of righteousness.  Secondly, to correct our sinful lives.  Thirdly, to be merciful.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  (From the Sermon on the Mount of our Lord Jesus Christ.)

Once again, I congratulate all you pastors,monastics and brothers and sisters with the glorious feast day of the Nativity of Christ.

+Andronik
Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas