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2014 Christmas Encyclical from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

2014 Christmas Encyclical from the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

Icon of Nativity of Christ

STYLIANOS

By the grace of God, Archbishop of Australia,

To all the Reverend Clergy and devout faithful of our Holy Archdiocese.

Dearest brothers and sisters, and beloved children in the Lord;

All of Christendom is preparing this year, once again, to celebrate Christmas, within a world that is troubled, frantic and contradictory.

The phenomena of international violence, together with crime of every kind and materialistic hysteria, all apply asphyxiating pressure upon the chests of every honourable person. They threaten to turn into a desert not only society and the family unit, but also the inner world of the human soul.

However, it would be the greatest hypocrisy to believe that we can judge this world as if we were somehow outside it. We are a vital part of this contradictory world and we share in its responsibilities absolutely.

If, after the passage of so many centuries, the Incarnation of God has not made our world more loving, this is not due to the non-Christians, but mainly to the followers of Christ. The most bitter betrayal always comes from within, from among one’s own people.

How are we then to chant the angelic Christams hymn with “unblemished lips”? The wonder expressed by the Hymnographer is therefore very timely for us all, when exclaiming: “What can we offer You, O Christ?”

In order to sing “Glory to God in the highest” and to experience, even to the slightest degree, “peace on earth”, we must respect the human person as the image of the invisible God. This is regardless of race, gender, colour, religion or age. God became human for all humankind.

If we do not possess the purity of the angels to offer the hymn of the Manger, we are nevertheless able to return to the simplicity of the shepherds, dwelling in the fields and glorifying God who was Born as an infant for all people.

To Him be the glory and power and veneration unto all ages. Amen!

With fervent prayers to Him,

Archbishop-Stylianos

Archbishop STYLIANOS

Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia

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