For the reverend Preachers, the reverend Priests, the councils of the Monasteries and the pious people of our Holy Metropolis
My beloved fathers and fellow people, my beloved children with Christ’s love,
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John, 1,14). We celebrate and rejoice the coming among us, with the receiving of our nature, of the Lord and Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Humanity confesses that this year’s Christmas is different from every other year. It seems as if the conditions are urging us not to celebrate, because we will not be able to connect the celebration in the way we were used to, because of the pandemic that has afflicted us! However, the opposite must happen! Let there be a festive opportunity to see its authentic, spiritual content! To know the truth that is for us, the incarnated God, and to be freed from the fear of death, to approach one another with deep love in our hearts, to understand what the glory which Christ has bestowed upon us means, to let go and receive it in the Church.
The world may defer the joy for the future, but for us who believe in Christ, everything happens “today”! “Today of a Virgin is born”, “Today The Virgin brings forth The Beyond-Substance,” we sing and our hearts are filled with joy! For the message of salvation and the renewal of our existence, the message of our resurrection from passions and evil, the message of our redemption from death, we live it today, we make it our own today, we share it with the service of the Holy Eucharist today , we share it with our neighbor through love today!
“The Word became flesh!” He became human in a world where humans were looking for freedom! Some felt the fear of authority hanging upon them, in a period of globalization, in which the powerful Rome did not let any people decide for themselves, but regulated everything by controlling people’s consciences, bodies and souls with the power of weapons, trading, roads and idolatry! Others felt the need to receive answers for the purpose and meaning of life, but they could not find them solely on the achievements of the human mind, the philosophy, the astronomy, the knowledge and the science! Everybody was captive of death. They all felt inside them that life would be over and everything would be lost in the darkness of non-existence!
“The Word became flesh!” Christ came and brought the freedom of faith! To those who boasted of their power, He showed them that the heart that trusts in God is not overcome by fear, because the ruler cannot possess the soul of the free people, when they feel the power of God. To those who sought happiness in pleasures, He showed that joy is not found in the pleasure of the moment, but in the communication of people, which is achieved through the sacrificial love, through the ecclesiastical life, by following God’s will! To those who sought answers for the world, He showed that everything was created ex nihilo thanks to the God Creator, who gave humans the power of knowledge not to be proud, but to understand his place. He gave to all the hope of the resurrection, of the victory over death, of the transcendence of sin and evil, ending the dominion of the devil and the selfish thinking that he carries!
“The Word became flesh!” In the agony of humanity we humbly follow the born God- Human. We do not overlook pain and sorrow! The answer lies exactly in the meaning of this celebration! Beyond sickness, decay, death is He! The one who trusts Him is not alone, because He frees us from the fears with His love even if the secular spirit shouts against us! We proclaim Christ! We glorify Him! We ask Him to be born in our hearts! To regenerate us spiritually! To give us the strength to walk freely towards the life that knows no end. To comfort us! To remind us that children trust their Father! And within the Church this trust is expressed through our participation in the grace of the services, especially the Holy Eucharist! It is expressed with the actual love for the fellow people! With the hope that “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (John 1,16)!
We wish you many blessed years to come fellow people! Peace and love in your hearts, your families and your lives! “Christ was born”! “Really he was born”!
With paternal greetings and love in the newly born Christ,
Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands
You can also watch this speech in audiovisual version (greek only) here: