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Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL…

Christmas Message of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia, to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

Beloved of the Lord archpastors,

all-honourable presbyters and deacons,

God-loving monks and nuns,

dear brothers and sisters!

On the radiant of the Nativity of Christ I cordially congratulate you on this great feast day.

For two thousand years Christians throughout the world have turned, with joy and hope, their mental gazes to the event which has been decisive for the history of mankind. Our contemporary reckoning of time, which begins with the Nativity and is the reckoning of time for the Christian era, testifies to the exceptional meaning of the coming of Christ the Saviour.

The cave in Bethlehem, where the animals took refuge from the cold of the winter night, has become the image of a world that has abandoned its Creator and felt the pain and darkness of being abandoned by God. However, the radiant night of the Nativity filled with light not only the cave which gave refuge to the Most Pure Virgin Mary, but also all creation, for through the birth of the Son of God every man that comes into the world is illumined by the Light of truth, as witnessed by St. John (Jn 1: 9).

We may ask: what does the Light of truth mean? We find the answer to this question in the same Gospel narrative of John. The Light of truth is the Lord, the Divine Word who ‘was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth’ (Jn 1: 14).

Through the Saviour’s birth people have been given the chance to possess grace and Truth (Jn 1: 17). Grace is the divine power granted to man by God for salvation. It is through this power that people vanquish sin. Without grace it is impossible to vanquish evil, and so we cannot vanquish all that darkens our lives.

Truth is the fundamental value of existence. If at the foundation of our lives there is untruth, error, then our lives are not realized. Of course, the life of a person who has gone astray may outwardly seem to be a successful one. Yet this does not mean that error is without consequence: sooner or later it will manifest itself, including in the tragedy of human destinies.

The Light of truth is the Divine light; it is the righteousness of God. It is immutable and eternal, and does not depend upon whether we accept it or not. When we accept God’s truth it defines in the first instance the nature of our relationship with others, the ability to bear, as St. Paul says, ‘one another's burdens’ (Ga. 6: 2), that is, to show solidarity by sharing both their joy and pain. ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another’ (Jn 13: 35), says the Lord. However, these eternal Divine truths, which can but only transform our lives, today have ceased to be ideals. They are persistently expunged from modern man’s consciousness by the propaganda of moral irresponsibility, egoism, consumerism and the negation of sin as the fundamental problem of human existence.

It is the substitution of true values by false values that largely explains the ever-growing significance of the so called ‘human factor’ in tragic events that take away hundreds of lives. It is this that explains the crises which have had a global impact on the economy, politics, the environment, family life, the generation gap, and many other things.

To celebrate Christ’s Nativity is to bring us closer to the Saviour, to help us seen more clearly his countenance, to be immersed in his good news. The Lord is born ever anew mysteriously for us in the depths of our souls so that we may ‘have life more abundantly’ (Jn 10: 10). The event of that night in Bethlehem enters our life today, helps us to see it from another perspective, at time unusual and unexpected. That which seemed important and great suddenly becomes trivial and transient, making way for the majesty and beauty of eternal Divine truth.

It is with especial power that the words of the Saviour today resound: ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world’ (Mt 28: 20). These words give hope based on the firm conviction that no matter what temptations befall us in this life the Lord will never abandon his inheritance.

The past year in the life of the Church has been highlighted by many important events. The Local Council convoked in Moscow in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour elected the successor of the late His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II. Fortified by the prayers and support of the episcopate, clergy and numerous flock, I placed my hopes in the Lord and accepted the lot of the Patriarchal ministry. Worshipping in Moscow, in a number of Russian dioceses, as well as in Ukraine, Byelorussia and Azerbaijan, I experienced the joy of prayerful communion with our pious Orthodox people, with the young and the elderly, with the middle aged and with children. Everywhere I saw the radiant faces of people, the sincere expression of deep faith. This was a powerful spiritual experience for me and a visible testimony to the unity of Holy Russia, which through the strength of the faith of its multinational people is overcoming the restrictions of society, property, age, ethnic origin and so on to preserve its spiritual unity in the conditions of contemporary political realities.

This unity is strengthened by the one Church in which all that is temporary and transient is overcome by the grace of God. It is here that before human eyes the majesty of unchanging values appears. This is why the Divine truth ought to be the main compass for all human activity, for growth and movement forwards.

It is a joy to see that an ever greater number of our contemporaries are becoming aware of their spiritual roots, are valuing their religious and cultural tradition. The festive solemnities today are shared not only by the faithful who are firmly rooted in the Orthodox Church but also by those who find themselves on the path to the discovery of saving faith and who may cross the threshold of the church for the first time, their hearts responding to the call of the Gospel.

In prayer I wish you, your Graces, all-honourable fathers, dear brothers and sisters, the abundant mercies of the Divine Infant Christ who was born in Bethlehem so that your joy is increased by the grace of God, that your infirmities are healed and your pain comforted. May the light of the star of Bethlehem be the guide of each and everyone of us, and may the Lord bless your labours in the field of building up the life of the Church and countries where we live, our societies, and may he grant that we abide constantly in the Gospel Truth.



The Nativity of Christ



Patriarchal greetings on the occasion of 60th anniversary of the Diocese of Vienna and Austria


Primate of Russian Church presents historic miracle-working Kazan Icon of the Mother of God to the faithful and celebrates Liturgy in the Kremlin Dormition Cathedral


Address by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus’ to the participants of the World Conference of Compatriots Living Abroad


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill met with the Primate of the Assyrian Church of the East


Statement by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the events at Makhachkala airport


Patriarch Kirill gives his blessing to offering up fervent prayers for archpastors and clerics of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church striving to preserve church unity


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill expresses support for the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem at a time of armed conflict in the Holy Land.


Speech by His Holiness Patriarch Kirill at the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and representatives of Russia’s religious communities.


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill sends messages in connection to bill No.8371 considered by Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill prays for all victims of airstrike on hospital in Gaza City


The Holy Synod calls down God’s blessing on the newly-elected Metropolitan of All Japan Seraphim.


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill prays for the quick cessation of the military conflict in the Holy Land.


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill replies to the appeal by His Holiness the Patriarch of Bulgaria Neophyte regarding the Russian church building in Sofia.


Statement of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill on the resumption of armed hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill’s condolences on the earthquake in Morocco


DECR chairman attends the opening of “Silent Sermon’ exhibition in Vienna


Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk officiates at Divine Liturgy in St. Nicholas Cathedral in Vienna


Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk officiates at All-Night Vigil in St.Nicholas Cathedral in Vienna


A meeting of the leadership of the Department for External Church Relations and the Synodal Missionary Department was held


DECR chairman takes part in United Cultures Forum in St. Petersburg


DECR chairman speaks before newly consecrated bishops doing an advanced training course


Delegation of the Serbian Orthodox Church visits DECR


Address by the DECR Chairman to the participants of the conference "Confluence of Conscience: Uniting Faith Leaders for Planetary Resurgence"


His Holiness Patriarch Kirill met with the Primate of the Assyrian Church of the East


Enthronement of Primate of the Japanese Autonomous Orthodox Church takes place.


Metropolitan of Volokolamsk Anthony conducts prayer service at the relics of Saint Nicholas of Japan.


Chairman of the Department of External Church Relations arrives in Japan.


DECR chairman meets with head of the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission in Jerusalem


Metropolitan Anthony of Volokolamsk meets with acting Patriarchal Exarch of Africa


DECR chairman pays working visit to the Holy Land.


Metropolitan Hilarion: Many things in a person's life depend on faith


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Holy Spirit is the main treasure of the Christian soul


Metropolitan Hilarion: Holiness is a constant striving to imitate the Lord Jesus Christ


Metropolitan Hilarion: God does not want to condemn, but to save us


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord always grants to us the opportunity to display our talents


Metropolitan Hilarion: The Lord has imbued the waters of Jordan with his divine presence to wash away human sins


Metropolitan Hilarion: to repent means to change your way of life


On commemoration day of St. Catherine, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk officiated at the Church of St. Catherine the Great Martyr In-the-Fields  the representation of the Orthodox Church in America


Metropolitan Hilarion: We can always show compassion for people


Metropolitan Hilarion celebrates on commemoration day of St. Varlaam of Khutyn at the church of ‘Joy to All the Afflicted’ icon of the Mother of God


Metropolitan Hilarion: We should remember that the life of each human being is in the hands of God


Metropolitan Hilarion: For God there is nothing impossible


Metropoplitan Hilarion: The cross which was an instrument of dishonourable execution becomes the symbol of salvation for millions of people


Metropolitan Hilarion: Eucharist is the wedding feast, to which Lord Jesus Christ invites each of us


Metropolitan Hilarion: Faith alone is not enough for salvation


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