With profound gladness I greet my fellow archpastors, honourable fathers, monastics, parishioners and the worshipers of our churches, scattered throughout the world, with the Nativity of Christ, the Baptism of the Lord and the New Year! May the Lord send us all the joy of the coming of the Son of God into the world. Both the struggle of our faith, and its fruits in our days, must be grounded in this joy: the joy that comes from hearing the angelic doxology and the triumph of the Incarnation of God the Word!
This past year was difficult and sorrowful for many of us, but it was also filled with divers blessings and gifts for which we must offer up our gratitude to our Benefactor. We have reached this festal season because Divine Providence did not abandon us. If we have been able to carry forth to this time the duties lain upon us, it is solely because the Lord Himself has granted us health, power, nourishment and clothing, and has poured out upon us His help, and the gift of patience for the unfolding of our life’s path. In addition to this, how many blessed gifts have been communicated to us in the holy sacraments, in the fast, and in the prayer and mystical life of the Church!
Christmastide always evokes feelings of love and gratitude in the believing heart. Let us also raise up in these days our own gratitude to God, let us bring our love to Him and to our neighbours, and let us convey our own Nativity gift to the temple, in which we are honoured with the wondrous, personal encounter with Christ and saving communion with Him. Let us open our hearts, dear fathers, brothers and sisters; let us receive the Son of God Who has come to earth; and let us worship Him together with the magi, rejoicing in His love and mercy towards us. Amen.
With love in the New-Born Christ,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
The Nativity of Christ, 2021/2022