NATIVITY EPISTLE of The Right Reverend ANDRONIK Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas 2017
NATIVITY EPISTLE of the Right Reverend ANDRONIK, Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas
Christ is born, resurrecting the image which had previously fallen. (Troparion from the Nativity Vigil)
Dear Brothers and Sisters!
Glance about you, how pretty everything is! How orderly and adorned are our churches and homes! The streets are festooned with garlands and lights, and even trees are attired in their holiday best! People of all sorts, Christians and of other faiths, and even completely nonbelieving atheists, walk with an elevated mood and happily congratulate each other on the Birth of the Creator and Savior of both the visible and invisible world, and we even hear uplifting Christmas songs from store speakers that usually play unpleasant music.
How to explain this phenomenon? What attracts our unchurched world in these Christmastide days to again and again look to the winter sky in the hope of seeing that Star, blessed by God, that heralded the great miracle of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is this not the same “memory of Adam” that is ever present in one way or another in all of us? The memory of our common forefather, who had direct communion with God, yet having sinned, lost that privilege. One can only imagine how sweet that communion was, if after all these centuries, our hearts still melt on that night at the mere thought of the Great Forgiveness and of our release from eternal ruin?
How can we thank the Creator for assuming the “image of the slave?” What songs shall we sing at the manger of the Child Jesus? There are two paths before us. The first is to extinguish the Christmas lights, put away the tinsel and tree ornaments, and having forgotten about Jesus, go about our everyday lives until next Christmas. The second path is to harbor in our hearts the spark of Divine Love received on the Feast Day of the Incarnation, which will help to improve our world, to make those around us kinder and more honest, and to direct our lives to the Sun of Righteousness and Light of Reason. The choice is ours to make as the Lord understands both paths, “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life!...” (Deuteronomy 30:19)
And so, choose life everyone! Choose a life with Christ, your Lord God, and hear His voice and cleave unto Him, as the meaning of your life lies with Him! Incarnate for our sake, Lord, praise Thee!
Dear brethren-archbishops, honorable fathers, brothers and sisters! I congratulate all of you on the Great Feast of the Nativity of Christ!
Christ is born – glorify Him!
Humble servant Andronik
Archbishop of Syracuse and St. Nicholas
The Nativity of Christ