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Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ 2013

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for the Feast of the Nativity of Christ

December 25,2013
The Nativity of Christ

“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given….” (Isaiah 9:6)

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In the culmination of this blessed season with the glorious celebration of the Nativity of Christ, we give thanksgiving and praise to God for His abundant grace and for His superb gift of becoming one of us through His Incarnation. This is a feast of joy and light. It is a jubilation on a day and a moment when God because of His great love for us took our humanity upon Himself. Through our Lord’s conception and birth, He entered our human condition. He assumed the flesh and blood that He created. He became man so that He might offer to us power over sin and death and the gift of total liberation from evil.

On this day we celebrate God’s gift to us and to all of humanity and creation. This gift was foretold by the Prophet Isaiah, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a child is given” (Isaiah 9:6). Through His gift, He offers us hope. In the darkness, the brilliant light of promise illumines a path to God through Christ. In our struggle against sin and the many challenges of life, He reveals to us how we can restore our communion with Him, and assures us that we will have the strength to complete our journey of faith. Through the Incarnation of Christ, we are shown the way to true and eternal life, and we become witnesses of the power of God to redeem what He created and loves.

We celebrate this Feast and this wondrous gift at a time when many throughout our world are in need of compassion and hope. We have seen massive destruction and loss due to recent natural disasters. We have witnessed the tragedy of violence within our communities and in nations around the world. We are acutely aware of the struggles of our brothers and sisters in Greece and Cyprus and in other places where economic challenges have burdened many. We are conscious of the ordeals of our Ecumenical Patriarchate due to severe restrictions on true religious freedom. We see around us the consequences when human dignity is devalued and life is exploited.

It is into the midst of the plight of humanity and these challenges that we carry the message of this Feast: For unto us a Child is born and unto us a Son is given! We share a Gospel of hope and promise. Christ has become man, and this unique gift to us has become the spiritual foundation for our offering to others in need. In gratitude to Him, in our compassion for our fellow human beings, and as a witness of the greatest gift of all, we offer to those who have lost everything, who carry the burden of despair, who suffer under conditions they cannot control or change, who have been victims of the abuse of others. They need to hear and see that God has given Himself to them, that His grace is revealed through Christ so that they might have hope and true life.

On this holy and blessed Feast of the Nativity of Christ, may our hearts be filled with joy as we receive and celebrate the gift of God and the gift of hope and life. May we also renew our commitment to share this gift with everyone. Let us give from our abundance so that others receive care and healing. Let us respond to the needs of those around us and throughout the world, so that the witness of God’s grace may shine in every place. And may our good and gracious God bless you and your families as you share in fellowship and prayer on this beautiful and sacred day.

With paternal love in Christ,

†DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America

Weekly Sunday Bulletin – 8th Sunday of Luke

St. John Chrysostom

The grace of your words illuminated the universe like a shining beacon. It amassed treasures of munificence in the world. It demonstrated the greatness of humility, teaching us by your own words; therefore, O Father John Chrysostom, intercede to Christ the Logos for the salvation of our souls.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

St. John Chrysostom – November 13

Parish Council on Duty:

George Georgakakis, Manny Daskos,  Medon Michaelides, Delcho Ogorelkoff, Eleni Varvoutis

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for OXI Day- October 28,2013

Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for OXI Day – October 28, 2013

 

What does the Lord seek from you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

 

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On this day of October 28, we give thanks to God and we remember our valiant forbearers for their stand against the forces of tyranny in 1940.   For the people of Greece, their love of freedom after centuries of occupation helped them to recognize the heinous nature of the expansion of the Axis powers and to support heroically the “NO” given in reply by the prime minister when asked to surrender.  In the midst of overwhelming threats of violence and destruction, they also relied on their faith in God and on their affirmation of all that is just and true.

Certainly, the people of Greece knew that the attempt to occupy their beloved land was unjust.  The forces of the totalitarian regimes of the Axis had already taken life, liberty, and property in other countries, and the onslaught of fascism continued.  In response our ancestors sought to defend our homeland, to meet injustice with honor, and to support the response of “NO” with a willingness to sacrifice all for the cause of freedom.  They knew their character, identity, and faith would not allow them to step aside quietly and acquiesce to the demands of tyranny.

The response of the Greeks to the Fascist and Nazi Axis forces and the resistance to occupation was just, for it was a firm and bold recognition of evil.  They knew that ultimately this was a confrontation with powers that sought to strip people of their freedom, their dignity, and even their lives.  This just cause was also motivated by a love of family, of sacred and ancestral lands, and of the blessings of freedom.  Further, the stand of the people of Greece was not characterized by arrogance, disdain, and conceit.  These attributes of the Axis leaders and forces were met by a strong and humble people whose love of God and each other led them to act justly, seeking to uphold what was good and noble and placing their hope and future in the promises of God.

On this day the “NO” of October 28, 1940, and the heroic stand of the people of Greece inspires us and offers a witness to the world of the priority and character of justice in the face of great threats and adversity.  Throughout the world there are many struggles for power as well as movements against tyranny and injustice.  Through our faith in God and in our recognition of our cherished inheritance, we must discern what is just and what is not.  As Orthodox Christians, we are called to live and do justly, to confront the machinations of evil, and to do so in the grace of God with a love for life and for others who are created in His image and likeness.  Our just and holy ways should also be characterized by dignity and humility.  True, decent humility is not a sign of weakness, but of great strength and faith, revealing a deep and abiding trust in the sacredness of the human person and in the power and promises of God.  It is in this way that we will not only honor the legacy of our Greek forbearers, but we will also bring honor and glory to God as we allow His grace to prevail and as we bear witness to the truth of life and salvation in Him.

May His abundant blessings be upon all of our commemorations of this day, and may we continue to offer a bright witness of the sacrificial and just stand made by the people of Greece!

 

With paternal love in Christ,

†DEMETRIOS
Archbishop of America