Archpastoral message for Christmas
Nativity Encyclical, 2022
"For He is our peace, who has made both one...And reconciles them both to God"
(Eph. 2, 14, 16).
Dear brothers and sisters,
Here comes the joyous day of the Nativity of Christ! Here comes the Son of God to reconcile us with God! Here He comes to reconcile us with ourselves! Here He comes to reconcile us with all people! Here He comes to reconcile heaven and earth again! Here is the day when we became children of God. And we are no longer slaves, but we are sons and heirs of God through Christ. That is why the angels sang to Him: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men" (Lk. 2: 14).
With this, the Holy Apostle wants to say that we who, because of our sins and disobedience, were slaves, have been accepted into the family, or the house, of the heavenly Father. Therefore, we were enemies of God, enemies of ourselves and enemies of the whole world.
In principle, reconciliation is a work of God's love (Jn. 3: 16; II Cor. 5: 18-19). But it is also our work. Because that service of reconciliation was received from the Lord Christ, through the Holy Apostles, and their successors in the Church, bishops and priests, as well as the faithful people. Therefore, the rejection of atonement means the rejection of salvation. The Lord reconciled earth to heaven, breaking down every dividing wall, abolishing all differences and making all men brothers. He did that once and for all, as no one has ever done or will ever do. That is why the Church on this day sings: "Come let us rejoice in the Lord, as today's mystery tells us: the dividing wall is falling."
Hence, it is our daily duty, dear brothers and sisters, to be peacemakers, because only then will we be called sons of God (Mt. 5: 9). And the admonition of the Holy Apostle Paul: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. “(ΙΙ Cor. 5: 20). The Lord, in His Holy Church, gave us all the necessary means to achieve reconciliation.
The image of reconciliation with God and neighbors is reconciliation with oneself, that is, for a person to be reconciled with his conscience, or to have inner peace. But also to not stop at that, but to try to do good and reject evil and sin (James 4: 17). Here is the advice of St. John Chrysostom: "...let us not come to the Church for judgment and condemnation, but for the sake of soul purification and sanctification, for the sake of virtue, for the sake of reconciliation with God, for the sake of unshakable peace, for the sake of the foundation of countless goods, in order to dedicate ourselves and strengthen our neighbor.” An ancient Christian writing says: "Do not make discord, and reconcile those who are quarreling!".
Our dear spiritual children,
Today, the world needs peace more than ever. That's why we pray to the Divine Child, Lord the Peacemaker, to send us supreme peace for the salvation of our souls, as well as peace for the whole world. That the fratricidal war between the Orthodox peoples should end and that the " peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4: 7), should move in among them. May He say to us as He did to His Holy Apostles: "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you..." (Jn. 14: 27). May His peace settle in our Kosovo and Metohija. May it move into your hearts, homes and families. May His love overcome all hatred. Because he who has hatred has no love. However, we see every day that there are those who do not want peace. That's why we adhere to the words of the Apostle to the Gentiles: " If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men" (Rom. 12: 18). Because this is how we will show our love that brings peace and joy, the fruits of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5: 22).
We are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed to our Diocese, monastery, churches, and everyone who needed help, especially to those of their faith (Gal. 6: 10).
From the depths of our hearts and souls, we greet you all fatherly with joyful words:
PEACE FROM GOD, CHRIST IS BORN!
HAPPY AND GOD BLESSED 2023 YEAR OF SALVATION!
Your intercessor before the Divine Christ Child,
Bishop of Canada