Nativity Epistle of Archbishop Andronik of Syracuse and St. Nicholas
His Eminence Andronik, Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas
Christ is Born – Glorify
Almost from the very beginning of the biblical narrative, that is, at the dawn of mankind, we encounter the emergence and proliferation of sin. Our forefather Adam violated the commandment of trust in God, while his firstborn Cain killed his brother and hurried away from the face of the Lord. Thus, began a terrible period of history during which humanity followed Cain’s example and moved farther and farther away from the face of God. Even the near complete destruction of civilization in the waters of the Great Flood could not cleanse the Earth of the mark of sin: the saintliness of Noah did not stop his son Ham from shamelessly laughing at his own father’s sin! To the sounds of Ham’s laughter, Cain’s fratricide spreads the world over like a poisonous snake!
What came to pass was far from the plan of the Creator of this world: a civilization of evil and ruthless people developed and multiplied. Of course, the bright stars of the saints lived among this civilization, as did other pillars of faith and piety, but they were few in number, while iniquity expanded so greatly that even the great prophets could not stop the slide of society into the abyss of sin. Scientific and philosophical systems developed but they were unable to restore mankind and to turn its gaze toward Divine Love. The human race of the Old Testament was akin to an old squeaking wagon, without steering or brakes, traveling by inertia down from the top of the mountain, ever accelerating along its frightful path. Indeed, ancient historical and literary records reveal evidence of the fall of a godless society farther and farther away from the Creator. We know of the truly Satanic human sacrifices; of the bloody entertainment of the gladiator fights that were staged for the masses; of evil wars; and, that human life itself had lost any value! The squeaky wagon careens downhill and a precipice soon approaches, bringing an inglorious end so desired by the enviers of the human race. Could someone stop this mad rush into the abyss?
And He did come, the Savior of fallen mankind! He did not arrive to the thunder of cannons or to cataclysms of nature – for that is not the Lord. And He did not arrive as a “superhero,” resplendent in worldly glory and financial prosperity – after all, this is not the Lord. Instead He revealed Himself in the humble form of the Infant God, and by this showed us that there is no more effective a weapon against Satan in the world than humility. Not in royal chambers but in the manger lies the meek Infant – and through His appearance alone He shatters the old wagon of history! He creates a new reason for living and the long-forgotten paradisiacal blessedness of communion with God. He unites people in a new community of Christian Love. How important it is for us to recall the primary mission of the Church – to unite people through the preaching of the Gospel! This is the only way that we can please the Lord Jesus in the rebirth of mankind. Make haste, brothers-Christians, to gather as many people faithful to Him as possible around the Infant God. We will reject the sins of discord, misunderstanding and suspicion. Let us embrace each other and in one voice exclaim:
Christ is Born – Glorify Him
I congratulate you, dear in the Lord, pastors, monastics, and all brothers and sisters with the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ. I call upon God’s blessing for you and may the Lord grant His great and rich mercies to you in this New Year.
† Humble Servant Andronik, Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas
The Nativity of Christ, 25 December 2018 / 7 January 2019