TO ALL CLERGY, MONASTICS AND FAITHFUL OF OUR GOD-PROTECTED METROPOLITANATE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

In the God-Child Christ, my dearest, by the Grace of God - spiritual children

God’s Peace – Christ is Born!

Indeed He is Born!

Today, beneath this blessed southern sky, together with the angels, shepherds and with all the saints, we exclaim: “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will amongst men” (Luke 2:14)

As we enter our homes bearing decorated oak branches (badnjak) which are an icon of the God-Child Christ, we refresh and renew our homes with the warmth, joy, peace and beauty which the birth of Christ brings to the world. The birth without which, both the world and mankind, would remain at a loss for true value and meaningful existence.

As St. Gregory the Theologian heralds, on that Holy Night, like once Moses on Mount Sinai, man beholds a great light and by it receives the gift of sublime knowledge.

As the Holy Prophets said, the world before the Nativity of Christ, resembled a long night during which the peoples who sat in darkness beheld a great light (Mt. 4,16), the dawning of the day of the Sun of Righteousness  - the God-Child Christ.

In a time when the dark cloud of ignorance hovers over mankind, Christmas, again and again fills us with the light of true knowledge and enlightenment, without which man is unable to perceive the world and to recognize the spirits working within it (1 John. 4,1)- its destructive trends and movements which are aggressively and unscrupulously  forced onto mankind.

Through the Incarnation of Christ, that is, though His birth, man is given the opportunity to envision himself sinless and clean, created in the image and likeness of the One Sinless God-Man Christ.

This primordial beauty, which is renewed and revealed in the Christ-Child, is that which is viciously assailed by the demons and all God’s enemies, including the loathers of mankind.

To be a Christian, means to be a witness of the Incarnate Truth of God in this world. The Incarnate Truth stands above all surrogates for truth, regardless of the lofty titles such as modern and progressive, that the world bestows upon them, attempting to justify them through plebiscites and the like.  Everything which stands in contradiction to God’s Revealed Truth, which is perfectly gifted to us in Christ, inevitably leads mankind into societal and above all spiritual regression and collapse.

Holding to this conviction, our Holy Church reminds us that true love towards our fellow man and to this world, is that love which offers salvation. To love is not to unreservedly uphold or service man’s desires and sins. Sin is sin, and that means to essentially miss the point of life. The endless promotion by modern and progressive society of things such as love and equality, when it excludes Christ and His truth about man and this world, will invariably impair man. For God, in creating the world, encoded it with reason, such that, the parameters of principles and reason which were instilled in creation and in man as the crown of creation, may guide man towards his destiny. For this reason, Christ again this Christmas, reminds us that only His truth can liberate and give purpose to man, and with that to society and the whole world.

In these fast paced times which rob man of his peace, particularly his internal peace, we witness attempts to violate and destroy entrenched and established values, and even the redefinition of indisputable biological facts. The dignity of man, created in the image of God, who according to His pre-eternal providence deigned to create them male and female, is threatened. They were created so that they may give life to His “other icon,” that of the family – the little church, the fruit of the love of a couple working with God, in which the parents are called to the sublime service of nurturing and raising their children according to the example given in Christ.

In the knowledge of the above, we entreat parents to raise their children in the spirit of Orthodox values which are woven into the fabric of our national being and which have demonstrated and proven themselves to be the axis of a healthy family and society.

Let us not casually relegate the nurturing of our children to this fallen world and spiritually unenlightened society. Bring your children to Church, and make your homes little churches. Light the lamps of faith in their hearts, add oil to their lamps teaching them about life and holy virtue and the holy mysteries of the church. Nourish them with Holy Communion, do not deny them the grace-filled strength and experience of living in the embrace of the Living God, together with His saints and our Orthodox Christian kin.

Again this Christmas, we call all the faithful of our Church, to pray for unity amongst the Serbian people in Australia, New Zealand and across the globe.

Let us be worthy of the name we bear. Let us spread around us the comfort, joy and peace which we are gifted at Christmas, and which the world needs now more than ever before.

On the Feast of the Birth of Christ, I greet you from the bottom of my heart with the all-joyous and age-old greeting:

God’s Peace – Christ is Born!

Indeed He is Born!

With Archpastoral blessings,

 

+ SILUAN

BISHOP OF THE METROPOLITANATE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

 

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