of the Primate of the Church of the True Orthodox Christians
of Greece, His Beatitude Archbishop Nicholas
of Athens and All Greece,
To the Christ-named Pleroma
" Today all things are filled with joy,
Christ is born unto the Virgin."
Children, beloved in Christ,
The brilliant star of our Savior's Nativity has again dawned in the noetic firmament of the Church.
From Her pulpit there is preached once again the true story of God's love for the world. That is, how our man-befriending God, seeing the race of man oppressed by the devil, had mercy upon it and sent the Archangel Gabriel to say unto the Theotokos, "Hail, O Thou who art full of Grace, the Lord is with thee." And immediately within her spotless womb our Lord, Jesus Christ, the Word of the Father, was conceived. Just nine months before this conception, an order had been given by Caesar Augustus that the entire world should be taxed. At that time then the guardian of the Theotokos, St. Joseph, went with her to Bethlehem to be entered into the census. Because of the great number of people there was no place where the most Holy Theotokos could enter and give birth. But they found refuge in a humble cave. There She spotlessly gave birth to our Lord Jesus Christ, swaddled him as an infant, and laid the Creator of all things in a manger of irrational beasts that He might redeem us from the irrationality of our passions.
This is the event, which we celebrate today and in which we rejoice: the birth in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. An event both historical and spiritual which divided epochs of history and as a Mystery, both great and strange, gives unto every person, if he so desires, the power of divine adoption, since "God becomes a man that He might make man into a god."
Children beloved in the Lord,
The incarnate Son and Word of God is, according to the Holy Fathers of the Church, "The Key of the interpretation of all things," and the epicenter of our understanding of the world and its history. We too need Him as a measure if we wish to make the greatest use of his gift and to become gods by grace, for only He is the true God Who is called and is the Savior of the world.
This is the unique Savior of mankind Who is preached and confessed by the Church of Christ, even as we have received from the Holy Apostles and their successors. He is Her head; it is He who is offered unto the faithful as Nourishment that they might live a true life both here and beyond the grave unto ages of ages. In this Church, as in another manger, is to be found reclining the Master of creation and Creator of all things. She is His Body, and therefore outside of her there is no salvation.
Unfortunately, the greatest part of the world is ignorant of all of this, and for this reason remains in the darkness of ignorance of the only True God, of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, Who is the Way and the Truth and the Life. Even when this world celebrates Christmas, it celebrates it superficially without spiritual content or reference to Him Whose Birth we are celebrating. This is a celebration far from the Church, and therefore without Christ!
Children beloved in the Lord,
Out of love for mankind, our God humbled Himself and was incarnate because of his love for his creation. Therefore we must humble ourselves, imitating His Divine example, showing love to our fellow man as His true children.
Especially we, as conscientious members of the Body of Christ, His Holy Church, must preserve with faith in Godly zeal the true Christian customs such as attending Church frequently, fasting, almsgiving, spiritual reading, ceaseless prayer, frequent confession and forgiveness towards all.
In this way we will be deemed worthy spiritually to bear the Word of God and to make of our hearts a manger in which the Savior of the world will condescend to recline. May this be so!
May the Grace of our Lord and God, who became man, be with you all.
Christ is born!
Your fervent intercessor before the Lord,
+ Nicholas of Athens
and All Greece