Patriarchal Encyclical for Christmas – Archon News Article







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Brothers concelebrating and blessed children,

Once again arriving at the splendid feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Savior Christ, who visited us from the heights, we glorify with psalms and hymns his heavenly name. The Incarnation of the pre-eternal Word of God is “the crowning of our salvation”, the “eternal mystery” of divine-human communion which transcends all reason. As Saint Maximus the Confessor so eloquently says, “as a God of love, he truly became man by assuming the essence of humanity, although the way in which he became man will always remain ineffable. ; He became human in a way that transcends humanity. [1]

The divine Incarnation, with the manifestation of the truth about God, also reveals the truth and the ultimate destination of man, our deification by grace. Saint Nicolas Cabasilas proclaims so theologically that Christ “is the first and the only one to show us the true and perfect man”. [2] Since that time, whoever honors God must also honor man, and whoever undermines man also dishonours God, who has assumed our nature. In Christ, speaking theologically of God, we at the same time speak of man. The incarnate divine economy definitively abolishes the image of God tyrannical, punitive and adversary of man. Christ is everywhere, always and in all things the negation of the negation of man and the defender of human freedom. The life of the Church, as flesh assumed by the Incarnate Son and Word of God,[3] represents, expresses and serves this saving mystery of divine humanity.

With this “other shaping” of man and the renewal of all creation in Christ as a banner, the Church today offers good witness to any development which threatens the sacredness of the human person and the integrity of creation. She lives and preaches the truth of authentic spiritual life and the culture of love and solidarity. Witnessing “to the hope which is in us” (1 Pet 3:15), the Church in no way considers contemporary civilization as another sinful Nineveh by invoking divine wrath upon her and its abolition like Jonah, but the Church struggle for the transformation of culture in Christ. In our time, we need pastoral imagination, dialogue and not argumentation, participation and not abstention, specific acts and not abstract theory, creative reception and not general rejection. All of this does not work at the expense of our spirituality and our liturgical life, but reveals the inviolable unity of what we call the “vertical” and “horizontal” dimensions of the presence and witness of the Church. Faithfulness to the tradition of the Church is not confinement in the past, but the use of the experience of the past in a creative way for the present.

Also in the past year, the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has troubled humanity. We give glory to the God of mercy, who has empowered specialists and scientists to develop effective vaccines and other drugs to deal with this crisis, and we encourage all the faithful who have not yet been vaccinated to do so and everyone to adhere to the protection measures by the health authorities. Science, in so far as it operates as a minister of man, is an inestimable gift from God. We must accept this gift gratefully and not be fooled by the irresponsible voices of ignorant and self-proclaimed representatives of God and of authentic faith “spiritual counselors,” who, nevertheless, are miserably invalidated by the absence of love for their brothers, whose lives they put in grave danger.

Most honorable brothers and beloved children,

With the unwavering conviction that the life of each of us and the journey of all humanity is led by the God of wisdom and love, we look forward to a happy new year 2022 which, despite external factors and developments, will be for all a year of salvation, insofar as, as also during its course, the movement of history is guided by Christ, who loves men and cares for all things, “who desires that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth ”. (1 Tm 2,4)

With the will of God, during the coming Holy Week and Great Week, we will celebrate the service of the Blessing of Holy Chrism in our venerable Center. We consider it a divine gift unique to our modesty that we are deemed worthy to preside over this festive and moving rite for the fourth time in our humble patriarchal ministry. Glory to God for all things!

With these sentiments, respectfully adoring the Child Jesus born in Bethlehem, we direct our thoughts to our Christian brothers there and we pray for the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of all who reside in the Holy Land.

With this in mind, we wish all of you, near and far, a Blessed Twelfth, and a healthy New Year, fruitful in good deeds and filled with divine gifts in favor of the Lord, to whom belong the glory and the power of them. endless ages. Amen.

Christmas 2021

+ BARTHOLOMEW from Constantinople

Fervent suppliant of all before God

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