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2016 Christmas Encyclical: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

2016 Christmas Encyclical: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

Nativity 08 (Magi)
+ S T Y L I A N O S
By the grace of God
Archbishop of Australia
to all the Clergy and devout faithful of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Brother concelebrants and beloved children in Christ,

“Do not be afraid; for behold—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

With these words, the angel tried to console the fear of the shepherds who were in the field on that night of the unprecedented Theogony, according to which God, who, in all things is uncontainable, humbled himself into the narrow limits of the human person so that He might guide us towards the boundless glory of God.

These words are altogether timely for today as well.

What however is the anthropological and salvific content of the words of the angel? What is the significance of this decisive night which separates the world from heaven?

Unequivocally, it is the words of the angel: “Do not be afraid; for behold—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people”.

I have to announce, it says, a great joy which is not common;     a joy which does not end.

It is the joy, that God lowered the heavens and is now with us. And He will remain with us always as the Emmanuel which means “God is with us”.

This joy is great and indestructible, since it is destined for everyone, for all humanity, it is a joy “for all people”.

Joys which are not for everyone, are small joys; they are joys which are depressing, joys which are sinful.

People seek for themselves and for “their own” such small joys, which divide and separate people.God, however, bestows joys which unite and build up, because they are joys directed “for all the people”. And above all these joys, there is the great joy of the Incarnation of the Only-begotten Son of God.

It is this unprecedented and incomparable joy which expels the fears of the night and of death.

This joy unites the earth with the heavens, and this is the only joy which restores relations and reconciles people amongst themselves.

It is this angelic message which we also have to repeat once again this year to ourselves and to others.

“Do not be afraid; for behold—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people”.

May this message, therefore, illuminate our troubled life.

To God the Word who became Human for us all, be glory, honour and worship to the ages of ages. Amen.

With fervent prayers to God,

Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis of Australia

Archbishop S T Y L I A N O S
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia

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