UKRAINIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH IN AMERICA
Slava Isusu Khrystu! All Praise Be to Jesus Christ!
Offices of the Metropolitan Prime Bishop
PASTORAL LETTER FOR THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY 2006
To Our beloved Brothers in the Episcopate,
Z NAMY BOH -- GOD IS WITH US!
Many years ago when I began my own monastic journey, there was considerable theological discussion to the effect that by the end of the twentieth century, Christians would be in the minority, that is, that Christianity would be reduced to a “diaspora Christianity.” Given the facts of today’s society and the manner in which the true meaning of the Gospels is being ignored, compromised, misinterpreted and not being put into practice, it may very well be that the true Christian is, most definitely, in the minority.
The Gospel proclaimed on this most holy Feast of the Nativity of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ is the evangelist Matthew’s testimonial that those to whom the Messiah had been sent had not recognized him and had remained indifferent to Him. Instead, according to Matthew’s redaction, the Magi, gentile pagan astrologers from Mesopotamia, individuals whom one would never suspect of embracing the Messiah, were precisely the very ones who “followed the star” and were the first to offer the Messiah respect, love and homage. In this way, Matthew opened the entire world and not just a chosen few to the reception of the Lord Jesus Christ and to His message of love of God and one’s fellow man.
Each of us, beloved Brothers and Sisters, must listen in silence and, like the Magi, “follow the star” which will lead us on the journey which will culminate in our truly finding Jesus Christ and embracing Him as “God among us.” Then, without the slightest compromise, we must take the next step and love God with our whole hearts and souls and enflesh His message of loving and caring for the poor, the orphaned, the widowed, the sick and the downtrodden on the streets of the cities and towns in which we live. Only then will we truly be His followers and make Christianity vibrant and a source of new life for the world, a Kingdom of love and peace.
May the peace, love, joy and holiness of this Christmas season be with each of you and with your families.
Metropolitan Prime Bishop