PATRIARCHAL AND SYNODICAL EPISTLE FOR THE NATIVITY OF CHRIST
“Christ is born; glorify Him!
Christ comes from heaven; go to meet Him!
Christ is on earth; be exalted!”
Beloved in the Lord children of our Holy Church,
With inexpressible joy and filial homage to the wondrous providence of God, in the holy night of the Nativity we receive again God’s Son, Who is born for us from the most pure womb of the Most Holy Virgin. He is born and He enters into our world, having received human nature, to restore it and to bring it back to its initial purity, to renew our lost sonship of God and “to raise the image that had fallen aforetime” (Troparion of the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ). To lighten the mankind, the world and the whole creation with His divine presence and to testify in a most definitive way God’s sacrificial love for us. Love that reached so far that God “gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who is believing in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
Receiving Christ Child today, Who comes to reconcile us with the heavens, we also rejoice, together with the heavenly host, and we say: “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace and good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). With bright joy and with the amazement of the shperherds from Bethlehem we also grow quiet in front of the unheard news about His birth (Luke 2:8-20) and imitating the wise men from the East, we also worship Him (Mat. 2:1-12), because today is fulfilled the ancient prophecy for the salvation of the human race. We glorify Him and confess His holy name, because with His Nativity there begins a new age for our ancestors’ world which has suffered a lot and has been buried in sins – an age of light and hope, an age of God’s presence among the people, in which we are not alone anymore, because „God is with us” (Is. 8:10).
We also live in this age today and that is why He expects from us to be His righteous confessors and witnesses in our world, His contemporary apostles and heralds of this divine light, which with His incarnation He brought for everyone: of the light, about which God’s Gospel writer witnesses that „…shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5). And it has not overcome it and it cannot overcome it, because this light springs not from a man-made source, but from the Very Spring of life, Who from the Son of God today becomes Son of Man, God-Man. „God becomes man so that the man can become God,” as the glorious father of the Church St. Athanasius the Great said in the fourth century.
In the night of the Nativity, let all of us who are Christ’s make room for Christ Child that is born for us and for our salvation, as we open for Him our homes and our hearts. Let us, not only with words, but also with acts of charity show our belonging to His holy Church, as we, according to our powers and resources, take care there not to be anymore among us people who are suffering and in need, hungry and thirsty, not only for food or drink, but also for warm words, for the most elementary human attention. Our Christian consciousness calls for this not only in this festive night, but also in the days of our life, it is what our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Who is born today expects from us.
We fatherly salute and greet with the Nativity of Christ all righteous children of our holy Orthodox Church, within the borders of our Fatherland and abroad, as we wholeheartedly wish everyone spiritual and physical health, apostolic spirit and God-blessed success in every pious and good and useful initiative!
May the grace and peace of Child Christ born on this day and the communion in the Holy Spirit be with us all!
HAPPY NATIVITY OF CHRIST!
HEAD OF THE HOLY SYNOD
PATRIARCH OF BULGARIA
METROPOLITAN OF SOFIA
MEMBERS OF THE HOLY SYNOD:
† METROPOLITAN IOANIKIY OF SLIVEN
† METROPOLITAN YOSIF OF USA, CANADA AND AUSTRALIA
† METROPOLITAN GRIGORIY OF VELIKO TARNOVO
† METROPOLITAN IGNATIY OF PLEVEN
† METROPOLITAN GAVRIIL OF LOVECH
† METROPOLITAN NIKOLAY OF PLOVDIV
† METROPOLITAN AMVROSIY OF DOROSTOL
† METROPOLITAN ANTONIY OF WESTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE
† METROPOLITAN YOAN OF VARNA AND VELICKY PRESLAV
† METROPOLITAN SERAPHIM OF NEVROKOP
† METROPOLITAN NAUM OF ROUSSE
† METROPOLITAN CYPRIAN OF STARA ZAGORA
† METROPOLITAN GRIGORIY OF VRATSA
† METROPOLITAN DANIIL OF VIDIN
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