Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men. (Luke 2:14)
Your Graces, Reverend Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
It is with the Incarnation of the Word that man can realize God’s infinite and boundless love for His creation. Out of love for us did the Son of God humble Himself to become man, in order to heal the relationship between God and man. Before the humble birth of Christ, in the Bethlehem cave, St. Gregory the Dialogist writes in his Dialogues, “With sin we were so distant from God that the angels, God’s citizens, eliminated us from their company.” The rift created by the Fall between God and man was so great that it reverberated to every aspect of Creation and tore asunder the bond of love that tied the Heavens to the earth. “It was not until the King of the Heavens took upon our flesh’, St. Gregory further writes, ‘that the Angels restored peace with us (humanity)… and once again considered us their companions.” It is for that reason that the angelic choir appeared to the shepherds singing, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14)...
Eminent Brother-Archpastors, Reverend Fathers, Beloved in the Lord, Brothers and Sisters:
It is with feelings of humble gratitude, love and joy in the Lord that I greet everyone on this great and most joyous celebration of the Nativity of Christ—the arrival on earth of the incarnate Son of God born to the Most-Blessed Virgin Mary. May the saving grace of God, appearing now in a humble Bethlehem cave and shining upon the waters of the Jordan River, be poured forth upon us all, visiting our homes, parishes and monasteries with unearthly light and peace!
We pray also that the Holy Land, which quenched the Savior’s thirst with its waters and fed with its bread Him Who is for us even Himself our food and drink, be sated with the peace heralded by the angelic choir over the city of Bethlehem! May the Lord strengthen the clergymen and monastics of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem, who are enduring difficult times as they preserve and protect our holy sites. Their courageous podvig, in the words of St John the Wonderworker, who was glorified 30 years ago, “evokes a feeling of tenderness and is worthy of reverence,” and it is our holy duty to send them our support in these sacred days.
from Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Rus’
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics
and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church
Beloved in the Lord archpastors, all-honourable presbyters and deacons,
God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters,
The unutterable love of God has gathered us today so that in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3) we may celebrate one of the most solemn and at the same time mysterious feasts of the Church – the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Glorifying our Saviour’s coming into the world, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all of you, my beloved, on the joyful event, which opened a new era in the relationship between God and humanity.