В день памяти первомученика архидиакона Стефана митрополит Александр совершил Литургию в храме Христа Спасителя города Алма-Аты
В Астане прошла встреча Главы Казахстанского Митрополичьего округа с послом Грузии Н. Лалиашвили
В преддверии нового учебного года митрополит Александр провел рабочее совещание с администрацией Алма-Атинской семинарии
День памяти преподобного Сергия Радонежского и преподобномучениц великой княгини Елисаветы и инокини Варвары
Christmas message from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus'

Christmas message from His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Rus' to archpastors, pastors, deacons, monastics and all faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church

Beloved archpastors in the Lord, honorable presbyters and deacons, God-loving monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!

The ineffable love of God has gathered us now to celebrate in the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3) one of the most solemn and at the same time mysterious holidays of the Church - the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Glorifying the coming of the Savior into the world, I cordially congratulate all of you, my dears, on this joyful event, which has opened a new era in the relationship between God and people.

Every time we look at what happened two thousand years ago, we try to comprehend the greatness of the miracle of the Incarnation and never cease to be amazed at the goodness and mercy of our Creator. For many centuries, humanity has languished in tense anticipation of the Lord's promised Reconciler (Gen. 49:10): the righteous and saving King (Zech. 9:9), in whose name the nations will trust (Isa. 42:4). And so, when the fullness of time finally came, a Child was born to us (Isa. 9:6), so that whoever believes in Him would not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). The love of God, which surpasses understanding (Eph. 3:19), sent into the world not an intercessor, not an angel, not a strong and powerful ruler, as people thought - God Himself became incarnate to free man from the power of sin and evil.

It is worthy of amazement that the greatest event in history, which was announced by the Old Testament prophets and which even the outstanding thinkers of antiquity foresaw, happened so modestly and outwardly inconspicuously. Bethlehem slept. Jerusalem slept. All of Judea slept. The Lord Almighty - the King of kings and the Ruler of the Universe - appeared to the world not to the solemn sounds of a trumpet voice (Ps. 150:3) and general rejoicing, but humbly and meekly, in the silence of the night of a wretched cave, sung by a host of angels and a few shepherds who came to see what happened (Luke 2:15).
At the very beginning of His earthly journey, the Lord seemed to want to “show the image of virtue within the limits of humiliation,” reflects St. John Chrysostom. Only perfect love acts so nobly, which does not seek its own (1 Cor. 13:4-5), does not put itself on display and does not demand honor and glory, but is ready to endure all hardships and sorrows for the benefit of its neighbors. “That is why,” continues the ecumenical teacher of the Church, “the Lord accepts my body so that I can contain His Word, and having accepted my flesh, gives me His Spirit, so that, both by giving and receiving, he may impart to me the treasure of life” (Word for Christmas Christ's). In this, the abundant love of God was revealed to us, that we received the true treasure of life - the Lord Himself, from whom are all things, by Him and to Him (Rom. 11:36).

Love is the real reason and driving force of Divine actions. He brought the world into being and created man, generously endowing him with gifts. Out of love, he came to save him when he fell away from communication with his Creator. According to the Creator's purpose, the whole meaning of human life is for us to love each other (John 14:34). But how can this be achieved in a world where there is so much evil and hatred? To do this, first of all, you need to open and give your heart to God. Only He can change and expand it so that it, now so weak and limited, becomes able to accommodate both those near and far, those who do good and those who offend us - all those whom we are called to love according to the commandment of Christ, imitating our perfection Heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48).

Bowing in prayer before the Newborn Infant of God, let us think, what gift will we offer to the Lord of the Universe? Can there be anything at all worthy and commensurate with the greatness of the Eternal Creator? Yes, there is such a valuable gift that the Lord desires most of all: our humble, loving and merciful heart. Let us glorify the Incarnate Christ not only with beautiful songs and congratulatory messages, but above all with good deeds. Let's share the bright Christmas joy with those in need, warm our neighbors with our care, visit the sick and burdened with sorrows. Let us console and support the despondent, cover with prayer all those in confusion and sadness.

The great saving power of love heals indifference and anger, heals hatred and resentment. It softens the morals of the hardened and corrects many of the crookedness of social relations! If we do this, we will truly fulfill our high Christian calling, for by this outpouring of love, according to the word of St. Isaac the Syrian, we become like God (Ascetic Words. 48).

The mystery of the Incarnation is the mystery of the real presence of God in the world. The Apostle and Evangelist John, foreseeing the life of the future century, testifies to the complete presence of the Lord with people: “He will dwell with them; they will be His people, and God Himself with them will be their God” (Rev. 21:3). However, this ineffable mystery of the Divine presence begins to be realized here on earth, for with the Nativity of the Savior the time has been fulfilled and the Kingdom of Heaven has approached (Mark 1:15). We visibly enter into this reality, forming the One Holy Church of Christ, through which we all, my dears, are messengers and representatives of this Highest Kingdom of love. This amazing and deep experience of “God with us” constitutes the essence of the sacramental, hidden life of the Church.

Let us remember that if the Almighty Himself - Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Rev. 22:13) - embraced human history in His arms and promised to be with us always until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), then we have nothing to fear or fear from the alarming circumstances of the present time. Responding to the great love of the Savior, let us learn to completely entrust ourselves to the Lord and trust in His good Providence, so that even until the Second Glorious Coming of Christ, even to the last of the earth (Isa. 8:9), we may testify with boldness and joy that God is with us!

+ Kirill, PATRIARCH OF MOSCOW AND ALL Rus'

Nativity of Christ
2023/2024
Moscow