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Christmas Message of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    Europaica 165 No 165 05 January 2009 Christmas Message of the Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad to the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2009
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      Europaica 165 No 165 05 January 2009

      Christmas Message of the Locum Tenens of the
      Patriarchal Throne Metropolitan Kirill of
      Smolensk and Kaliningrad to the Archpastors,
      Pastors, Monastics and All Faithful Children of the Russian Orthodox Church

      Beloved in the Lord my brethren archpastors,
      honourable presbyters, pious deacons, God-loving
      monks and nuns and all faithful children of the
      Russian Orthodox Church. ‘Mercy unto you, and
      peace, and love, be multiplied’ (Jude 1:2).

      It is in these days that we recall how the Son of
      God came down to men so that each of us may be
      united with him. Yet so that this opportunity may
      become a reality, there is required of each of us
      a response worthy of the divine love – our love,
      a love which is actual and sacrificial, a love
      which ‘vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
      doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her
      own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Cor 13:4-5).

      An example of this love was revealed to us in the
      life of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy, whom we
      recently accompanied on his final journey from
      this earthly life. Like the good shepherd of the
      Gospel, he ‘gave his life for the sheep’ (Jn
      10:11), entrusted to his care by the ?hief
      Shepherd Christ. An undoubted merit of the late
      Patriarch is the preservation of Church unity
      granted by God and which no attempts to bring
      schism and division into Church life could sway.
      The celebration of the 1020th anniversary of the
      Baptism of Russia in Moscow, Kiev and Minsk
      demonstrated clearly the will of the people of
      the Church for unity. Many thousands of people
      have again bore testimony that it is in the one
      Church, that it is in the fullness of the Body of Christ that the truth abides.

      With the demise of His Holiness Patriarch Alexy a
      most important period of the history of our
      Church has come to a close, a time of great
      social change. Today we live in a completely
      different society, dissimilar to the society that
      emerged from the period of godlessness which was imposed upon us.

      At the same time today the peoples who are
      spiritually nourished by the Russian Church are
      encountering difficulties in the economic and
      social sphere that have befallen them externally.
      Many people have been deprived of work and are
      enduring material hardship. The Church embraces
      with compassion all those who are now finding it
      hard. May the Lord strengthen and bring wisdom to
      all – those in power, entrepreneurs and simple
      workers – so that we, through the common labour
      of accord, mutual aid and the search for proper
      solutions, are able to help each other to
      overcome the current difficulties and emerge from
      them, preserving ourselves and our beloved ones,
      and preserving peace and harmony in our communities.

      Today our Church is going through a special time:
      we are all drawing closer to the Local Council,
      at which by the will of the Holy Spirit a new
      primate – His Holiness the Patriarch of Moscow
      and All Russia - will be elected. In preparing
      for the coming election, let us remember that
      love alone creates true conciliarity. ‘Love
      unites the many into the one body and makes their
      souls abodes of the Holy Spirit, for it is not in
      division among ourselves but in souls united that
      the Spirit of God abides,’ St. John Chrysostom
      teaches us. St. Paul warns us, ‘Look diligently
      lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any
      root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and
      thereby many be defiled’ (Heb 12:15). This root
      is sin; and the root of all sin is pride. There
      is no room for love in a proud heart. It is only
      when we leave no room in our souls for hatred,
      envy and rivalry, but when we open our hearts to
      love and unity that divine grace will be
      effective in our lives. It heals our infirmities
      and compensates for the paucity of our efforts.
      It grants to us boldness, strength and wisdom,
      leading the Church by the way of Christ who
      according to his promise abides with us ‘always,
      even unto the end of the world’ (Mt 28:20).

      On this joyful day I congratulate you from the
      depths of my heart on the great and world-saving
      feast of the Nativity of Christ and the New Year
      of 2009. May it be beneficent and successful, and
      may we be accompanied on our pathways through
      life by ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
      the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost’ (2 Cor 13:13).

      +Kirill, Metropolitan of Smolensk and Kaliningrad
      Locum Tenens of the Patriarchal Throne

      Nativity of Christ 2008/2009 AD, Moscow

      Translation: DECR MP
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