Of the Primate of the Genuine Orthodox Church
His Beatitude Archbishop Nicholas
Of Athens and All Greece
To All the Christ-named Pleroma
Beloved Children in the Lord:
The coming into the world of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ our Lord, marks the unique beginning of the change of mankind from hopelessness, and its certain turning and new orientation from darkness to light. Until that time, darkness reigned. Until then, hopelessness covered the race of man. Until the coming of Christ, the reign of death was so strong that even the righteous were led to the darkness of Hades after their death.
It is not, therefore, strange that the coming of the Savior was the object of anticipation not only on the part of Israel, but also of other peoples besides the chosen race of the Jews, all of whom awaited redemption from the heavens. The philosophers of Greece, the Oracles with their pronouncements, and the wise Magi of the eastern lands, all awaited a Savior to lighten the heavy burden of the ruling power of the devil, to scatter the dense darkness of mankind as it groaned, oppressed by the demons.
Today every human endeavor everywhere is marred by confusion. Everyone seeks some refuge, somewhere where he might entrust his future. But wherever he looks, he is disappointed. Social and political life, as well as most human relationships, are full of discouragement. And even in Church life it is oftentimes the same. Everything seems to have little to do with the message of Jesus. Quarrels, misunderstandings, personality cults and self-promotions of the most base sort; arrogance and hypocrisy reign. Where can one place his trust?
Here, the example of the Magi can teach us and fortify us.
Each of us who desires to live the life of the Body of Christ, the life of the Church, must investigate beyond the surface phenomena and delve deeply into the essence of the matter. Then our God, the All-holy Trinity, will enlighten each and every one who draws near with such a disposition. We must be sure that if we approach with genuine and sincere faith, God will strengthen the eyes of our souls to see beyond the external, discouraging surface, which in any case are the tricks of the evil and manslaying demon, so that we can see the majesty of the Church Militant here on earth, and perhaps to see, dimly and from afar to be sure, the glory of the Church Triumphant in the heavens. Then, as did the Magi, who beyond the humbleness of the environment saw the great King, we may lay there our gifts: the gold of our Orthodox Confession of Faith, the frankincense of our traditional worship, and the myrrh of our sincere repentance. And as a result, we shall “go back another way,” that is, our lives will change into an ascension towards the heavens, for no one who “approaches the Unapproachable” ever remains the same as he was before.
These things, my beloved children, do I offer to you as my humble gift and paternal deposit during this festive days of our ecclesiastical journey. And I ask you, in the midst of these sacred Twelve Days, not to forget the unfortunate, the poor and those house-bound because of illness. Your care for all the suffering brethren is an indication that we are true children of Christ.
I entreat you to pray for the sacred clergy of our Church. Your prayers and your moral support strengthens us and encourages us to continue to minister to you with our weak resources. Pray for the unity and the orderliness of the Church, and struggle in a practical way for this peace by avoiding the works of scandal.
Please know that we, as Archbishop of our True Orthodox Church of Greece, together with the honorable members of our Sacred Synod, struggle day and night in prayer and supplication for each of you, our beloved children and brethren, beseeching that the grace and the limitless mercy of God, Who took on flesh for our sakes, be with all of you. Amen.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!