from Joanna's notepad
It is maybe a bit confusing, but the name of ROCA/ROCOR is nothing to argue about. And certainly not anything to criticize. I have a post on the Starting On The Royal Path blog about it, and at least one other post about it on this blog (an explanation by Daniel Everiss). I do not have time to look up those urls right now. For now I am responding to some hostile remarks made about ROCA (supposedly) changing its name by goonish commentators on Father John Mahan's group facebook.
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Russian Orthodox Church in Exile
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad
Russian Church Abroad
All these are different names for the same Church. When you read old ROCOR writings you get familiar with the different names seeing them all used interchangably by our Church fathers.
The MP in America has never tried to use one of our names. They call themselves the Russian Church. The Vitaly group calls itself ROCiE. The ROCOR-MP calls itself ROCOR. And now the Mountain View schism is also calling itself ROCOR.
We do not use ROCA to differentiate ourselves. Our reason has nothing to do with what others are calling themselves. Vl. Agafangel uses ROCA and has a reason for doing so, but I think you have to speak Russian to understand it. For some reason, in Russian, "Abroad" is more accurate than "Outside Russia" for our current geographic and historic situation.
Also, Vl. Agafangel says Ukraine, not THE Ukraine. That should be easy to understand because we say America, not THE America.
Bishop John of Melbourne
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
“Today the Virgin giveth birth to him Who is transcendent in essence; and the earth offereth a cave to Him Who is unapproachable. Angels with shepherds give glory; with a star, the Magi do journey; for our sakes a young Child is born, Who is pre-eternal God.” (Kontakion of the Feast of the Nativity)
They, observing the obedience of the star, understood the dignity of the King.
(St John Chrysostom, Homily 2 I:208-209).
The Magi did not see before them either sceptre or throne, only utter poverty. What was it then that moved them to undertake the toil of a journey without reward? ….it was the star and the light that God had placed in their hearts that led them step by step to more perfect knowledge.
(St John Chrysostom, Sermon, The Epiphany and the Flight into Egypt, P.G.57:81)
The star mysteriously calls the Magi from afar. This is an image of our conscience, which mystically calls us to the true Church, where we will find Christ, the Truth, the Saviour of mankind. The Kings followed the star faithfully for more than two years. Leaving their palaces behind, they dedicated themselves to this mysterious call. They took with them the best of their riches as gifts for the newborn King. This is equivalent to us leaving our homes, our jobs and families, sacrificing time and exertion, visiting holy places and monasteries, making donations, and dedicating our life to prayer and the Church. Each one of us has been called by that mysterious light of faith, which at some point in our life has begun to shine in our soul. The kings are an image of us Gentiles, the Church of the nations, the New Testament Church.
Now we must respond, and if not leave our homes, at least offer our gifts – faith, love and good works. “Faith instead of gold, love instead of myrrh, and good works instead of frankincense let us bring to the Creator Who cometh unto His own”. (Aposticha stihera, Matins, 23 December, Forefeast of the Nativity). We offer our faith in abiding by Orthodox doctrine, practicing the commandments, and keeping the Canons of the Church. We offer our love by prayer and diligent attendance at the Church services every Sunday and feast day, participating in the Mysteries. We offer good works when beautifying the temples of God and the services, by our hands, by our voices, and also by our monetary donations. According to the Holy Fathers, alms-giving is the most powerful means for receiving mercy from God and a direct path to God. This is especially true for us people in the West, who live in a material abundance unheard of even by the three ancient Kings. We are called to glorify Him, in obedience, prayer and works of mercy.
Exhausted by years of wandering, the three Kings finally arrived at Jerusalem, guided by the mysterious call. Then the unthinkable happened. For a moment they lost the star - the light of clear faith. This may happen to us also. But let us not be disheartened! At that point, even without seeing the star, the Magi headed towards Bethlehem, now guided by Scripture, the Old Testament prophesies. In the same way, in moments of hesitation, we must refer to Scripture, especially the Revelation of St John concerning the last days of the world. None of the confusion of present modern life should be a surprise to us. Let us hold fast to the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Holy Fathers of the Church! The Church always taught that in the end times these two stars would be our only true spiritual guides.
The Church teaches us not to be guided by emotions, feelings and earthly thoughts, which so easily express disillusionment, distortions, and untruth. A gross mistake is to accept these as the voice of our conscience. Our conscience is the voice of God in our heart, and calling human feelings the conscience is in essence a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Our feelings easily deceive us, make us susceptible to the power of evil, and gullible followers of false teachers, based on irrational, emotional trust. We should never forget that the spiritual deception of our modern apocalyptic world is the work of false churches and false pastors, wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Having put their trust in Scripture itself, rather than in the authority of the Jewish priests and scribes who told them what the prophets said, the three Kings made their way to Bethlehem. They never returned to the false teachers. On the way, the star re-appeared, and their faith was re-ignited. They reached their goal of seeing God by trusting the Scriptures and Old Testament prophets. The Lord Himself says: “O fools, and slow of heart-to believe, all that the prophets have spoken: (…) And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself”. (Lk 24:25, 27).
We could reasonably expect the rich Kings to be dismayed when they reached their destination – a poor and dirty cave, full of animals, hay, manure, stench, and a few poor shepherds attending to some homeless people. But they were not disheartened! Similarly, let us also not be discouraged by the poverty of Church life in our last times. Indeed, it is difficult, because our feelings cry out for more familiar, physical comforts - rather than the elevated, spiritual gifts of God. Brothers and sisters, let us resist our this-worldly emotional thirst for luxury, comfort, ease, grandiose churches, radiant vestments and magnificent choirs in large cathedrals. Even more important for many are the sumptuous banquets, gorgeous clothes, beautiful houses, and gifts to be given to us rather than from us - all accompanied by fuzzy feelings of ‘love’, directed toward ourselves rather than toward God and our neighbour. Many, even among those who call themselves Orthodox, and especially in the West, have decided that food, gifts, family and fuzzy feelings constitute the very meaning of the feast. Such people have lost the true understanding and significance of Church feasts and church life. In the correct context and proportion, these comforts are not evil in themselves. Nevertheless, as Orthodox Christians, we must know all this is of the fallen world. If we become excessively attached to the world, we will not reach our destination of spiritual salvation.
Anything to which we attach more importance than Christ – be it even our family, children, or career – becomes an idol. In our times, especially among us in the West, families are seldom united in Christ. The Lord sternly warns us: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt. 10:37). Today, some find it necessary to take their children to heretical and schismatic churches to celebrate the birth of Christ, ostensibly for the sake of their children’s happiness. They do not see that it is not the children who have led the parents out of the True Church, but rather, it is the parents who have led the children astray. But Christ says: “Suffer [allow] the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” (Mk. 10:14). We hear continually in the Divine Services: “let us commit ourselves, one another and all our life unto Christ our God.” If we heed this call, “all these things shall be added” to us (small litany; Mt 6:33)!
Everything depends on our discernment – a choice between the physical and the spiritual; between the earthly and the Heavenly. Our reward is not limited to the next life only – for when we set God first in our lives, we receive peace of heart even here and now, during our short sojourn on earth. He will give us true life and happiness, which will most certainly last forever. Let us love Him, our God, rather than ourselves and our fallen world! We are all invited to receive this joy and peace of the true God in His true Church! We will not find this joy and peace anywhere else.
Brothers and sisters, do not hesitate! The doors are open to us all – now, come, and join the spiritual feast!
Christ is born! Glorify Him!
+ Bishop John
Nativity of Christ, 2017/18
I am stunned not just speechless, but also breathless. This is so "below the belt." I am frightened for St. Nicholas unable to fathom the depth of his sorrow.
• Fr. Elias Warnke joined the schismatics who devastated our beloved ROCOR
Shared with us by Alex in Romania
See how significant is the role of the ROCOR in the end times. This is why the Mystery of Iniquity works so hard to destroy the ROCOR. All those who support the R-schisms participate with the antichrist.
email me for PDF in English
About Mother Photini:
Mother Photini is the cell-attendant of the imprisoned patriarch Irenaios, who is in fact the only one currently actively helping the imprisoned patriarch. Mother Photini was born in Australia in a monarchist family of Russian immigrants belonging to the Black Hundreds movement who fled the Bolshevik God fighting authorities. From an early age she was raised in an Orthodox way and educated in the true spirit of the fear of Christ and His Church. In order to provide the basic needs for the imprisoned Patriarch Irenaios, she has to work hard, sometimes all around the clock, as a guide to pilgrims visiting the Holy Places, in spite of her own old age. It is not uncommon to find her still with pilgrims late at night, but she does it with all the love one can expect from a true Orthodox Christian who sacrifices herself not only for those needing spiritual guidance in these perilous times but for the aging Patriarch himself, who was the subject of a few assasination attempts by poisoning. The needs of the aging Patriarch, who refuses to eat any kosher food which he consider "spiritually tainted", demand much from her but she never complains. Because of this and other reasons, it is practically impossible to reach the Patriarch nowadays, in part also because some of those in charge with the administration of the Holy Sepulchre make sure that those wishing to see him are misguided that the Patriarch himself is also not willing to receive anyone ...
The Testimony of Mother Photini, the cell-attendant of the imprisoned patriarch Irenaios:
My dear brothers and sisters, please allow me to convey to you a very important message since we, together with the members of our brotherhood will live under the authority of our beloved Patriarch Irenaios, a true martyr of our time. Through me, the unworthy one nun Photini, the Patriarch would like to send you his blessings and his prayers. At the same time he also asks that you may remember him in your prayers, reminding us all that we do now indeed live in the last, and the coming of Antichrist is now to be expected at any time.
What is happening in your country, Russia, are unquestionably very difficult trials, and, how should I say it, what is happening over there will lead to the complete destruction of the Orthodox Faith. Who could withstand, resist this I don’t know. As it is written in the Apocalypse: as Christianity started in catacombs, so it will also end, in catacombs.
Let me bring to your attention some historical facts regarding the current patriarch in Russia, whose name I will not mention again now, you know who he is very well. Here’s what happened here: in 2007 the two Churches united. On 17 May 2007, the two Churches, the Russian Orthodox Church in Exile (ROCOR) and the Patriarchate of Moscow, joined together and celebrated this important event.
While this was happening, Patriarch Irenaios (of Jerusalem) was begging the Church in Exile (ROCOR) not to rush towards unity but rather wait a little longer. He told them that if they would be patient they will be shown all the hidden inner workings, but they did not listen and the enemies of humanity raced to destroy the Church of Christ as quickly as they could. And it happened that in the same year, only a little later, on August 29 2007, Kiril, who was yet only a Metropolitan back then, had an official visit and met here at The Wailing Wall with his dear brothers, the Hasidic Jews, to whom he solemnly promised publicly, live on Israel’s television channel, the following: „My dear Hasidic brothers, I, the next patriarch, will do for you everything in my power to make sure that your dream will come true!”
And this promise he continually tries to fulfill.
(Photo of Church of All Russian Saints in Gorny Monastery, Ein Karem, Israel)
But the second most important thing is this: in 2004 in the Gorny Monastery (Mount Monastery) began to build a church dedicated to All Russian Saints. In 2007 the church was completed and was awaiting to be sanctified, and on August 29, when Kiril came, he consecrated the church to the memory of All Russian Saints. A few years after his departure, in 2009 an order was given to have a small cave uncovered in honor of Saint John the Baptist, who is said to had lived in during his earlier years. When excavations began, they came accross the archive of Antonin Kapustin (archimandrite, 1817-1894). It seems that when Khrushchev sold all the estates, the archive was hidden, being buried in this cave, but with this occassion the archive was found, uncovering a priceless treasure. To me, the sinner (mother Photini), was given the opportunity to witness and examine this archive personally.
I’ve read this archive and in there it was written the following: „I, Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, while working on the foundation of the upper church from Gorny Monastery dedicated to the memory of all the Saints, I had a terrible vision that I would not be able to complete it, but that it will only be completed right before the coming of the Antichrist and will be sanctified by the Forerunner of the Antichrist.
The Monastery was sanctified, of course, by Kiril and Mark of Berlin, the betrayer of the Church in Exile. Here it is, here’s the living proof.
I begged them (the sisters of the monastery) to give this archive to me for safekeeping, arguing that as a member of ROCOR and foreigner to this land it will somehow be better protected as they would not dare do anything to me, but the sisters obviously did not consider it appropriate to entrust it to me. They believed that they should hand it over to the Abbess and then further on to others so that many would find the truth and be saved, but they were all miserably deceived. These are not the times when the spread of Orthodoxy works like that anymore, but the time that leads to perdition. The archive dissapeared and all the sisters who have read it have perished, except for me the last one. They all believed that nobody would listen to me anyway being a foreigner, but they were mistaken.
I believe that God will still look in someone’s soul and somebody will understand what is happening today, will listen these words. So you are running, and by running you are doing the right thing, in the catacombs is our only salvation. Remember our imprisoned Patriarch (Irenaios) in your prayers, the martyr of our times. God is still preserving him for a purpose. I still hope and pray that he may be our last hope and light until the very end.
May Christ save you all! May the Mother of God be always with you, forever and ever. Amen!
Re: DEP PSALTIC ARTS GROUP - Protopsaltis' Christmas GreetingInbox
Nativity Epistle for 2017, of our ROCA Bishop Gregory of Sao Paulo, Brazil and All South America
2 machine-English translations (from Russian/Portuguese)
Master Message in Russian below.
Translation from Russian into Portuguese.
THE PRESENTED GRIGORY OF THE SAN PAULIC AND SOUTH AMERICAN BISHOP.
"Behold, I proclaim to you a great joy that shall be to all people. Today the Savior who is Christ the Lord is born to you in the city of David" (Lk 2: 10-11).
Beloved in the Lord, the God-loving clergy, brothers and sisters, faithful children of the Holy Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia!
My beloved in the Lord clergymen, brothers and sisters and faithful children of the Russian Orthodox Church outside of Russia!
There is no man on earth who is not an advanced person to be happy, would not seek her, would not long for her. But earthly joys can never fully satisfy a person. In addition, they are not at all durable and are often replaced by grief and sorrow. What makes one happy, causes sadness in others. Not that spiritual joy! But where to look for it? Where can it be purchased? In the Lord God - the joy of the Holy Dews!
There is no one on earth who could be alienated from joy and not anxiously seeking. There is, however, no earthly joy capable of satisfying the human being. And, moreover, all earthly joy is fleeting and almost always ends in pain and suffering. What makes some happy, others sad. However there is a joy that is not so - it is spiritual joy! But where to find it? Where is it possible to acquire it? In God our Lord is found, joy in the Holy Spirit and full happiness!
And so, on the Christmas night, the angels themselves preached the Bethlehem pastors, and through them to all mankind, I bring joy. And what is the joy? "Yako was born to you by the day of Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David." And so, from the wretched Bethlehem the true joy to the whole world shone - the Nativity of Christ!
On Christmas Eve, the angels descended from heaven and announced to the shepherds of Bethlehem a great joy which, through them, spread throughout all mankind. And what joy was that? "Today the Savior who is Christ the Lord is born to you in the city of David." This is how, from poor Bethlehem, true joy for all the world has come: the Birth of Christ!
But why did Christ descend from heaven? "Yes, heaven will lead us!" Through sin, humanity has lost its paradise. Christ gives us heaven with His incarnation, the Cross and Resurrection! "That we may be made heirs by hope of eternal life" (Tit.3: 7). "That we may receive life through him" (1 John 4: 9).
But, why did Jesus Christ come down from heaven? "To lead us to heaven!" Through sin, mankind lost paradise. Christ, by His Incarnation, Cross and Resurrection, gives us heaven as a gift! "That we may be heirs of eternal life, according to hope" (Titus 3: 7) "that we may have life through him" (1 John 4,9).
The prophet Isaiah seven hundred years before this event announced his supernatural - "The Virgin in the womb will receive and give birth to the Son, and the name Immanuel will not be borne to him, which means: God is with us." (Is.7.14 / Mat.1.23) "C God is our God, understand the languages, and punish yourself, for God is with us! "((Is.8,9) The singing of this solemn song at the all-night vigil is a feature of the divine service of the present feast: it announces the triumph of the Messiah-Christ Kingdom, that the hostile Christ The kingdom of power, although it seems at times terrible, can not stand on the day of the appearance of the judgment of God. Isaiah announced only the House of David about the future Emmanuel, but now there is no place where it would not be preached about the Lord Jesus Christ and the coming of his second coming.
The prophet Isaiah, seven hundred years before, prophesied the miraculous birth: "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel," which means, "God is with us" (Isa.7: 14 / Mat.1, 23) "Know ye, ye people, and bending, for God [is] with us!" (Isa. 8: 9). This chant chanted in the Great Vigil is one of the main parts of the Divine Office of this feast. The verses of this song celebrate the triumph of the Kingdom of Christ Messiah, declaring that the powers hostile to the Kingdom of the Messiah, though they sometimes seem terrifying, will not stand on the day of the manifestation of the divine judgment. In his day, the Prophet Isaiah announced the coming of the Immanuel only to the house of David. Today there is no place in the world where the Lord Jesus Christ and His second coming have not been announced.
The House of David then neglected the words of the Prophet and left his plans for an alliance with the Gentiles, and did not receive the Messiah - Jesus Christ the Savior. And now many who are by the name of the House of God, Christians, and many clerics occupying even high hierarchical positions, and almost all earthly states, like godless apostates, atheists, and idolaters, arrange feasts and agreements in the name of the enemy of God and the original destroyer of the human race . The commandments of God are removed and sin becomes a virtue. Without fear of the judgment of God, in the name of "all-forgiving love," they go to have fun where the law of God is plainly trampled upon, and blasphemy against God is not considered criminal.
At that time the house of David despised the words of the Prophet and did not abandon the plans of alliance with the pagan peoples, not even accepting the Messiah - Jesus Christ, the Savior. Today, many of those who claim to belong to the house of God, Christians and even many members of the clergy, in their highest hierarchy, and most governments of the world, imitating apostates and idolaters, unrelated to the divine life, celebrate banquets and settlements in the name of the enemy of God and the ancient destroyer of mankind. The Laws of God are vilified and sin has become a virtue! Without fearing God's judgment, trusting in the "forgiving love" indulges in amusement in places where God's law is disrespected, and where blasphemy is no crime.
In time it served the stars of servants to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, and now called by His name they participate indifferently in lawless deeds and feasts with the five-pointed star, a symbol of enmity against the Lord Jesus Christ.
At that time, the worshipers of the stars came to worship Our Lord Jesus Christ; today, people baptized in His name participate indifferently in acts of judgment and feasting with the bearers of the five-pointed star, symbol of hostility against Our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Hear the last earth, for God is with us. You who are in power are punished, for God is with us. We will not fear your fear, let us be confused below, as God is with us. And I will trust in Him, and will be saved by Him, for God is with us! "
"Listen with all your attention to the ends of the earth - for God is with us, you who are powerful in the world, bend over - for God is with us, we will not fear what you fear, we will not be disturbed - because God is with us. hope, He will save me - because God is with us! "(Christmas vigil)
In these holy days we will be mentally moved to Bethlehem, we will humbly reflect on God's love for man, understand the power and immutability of the Divine Scriptures, with children's faith and ardent love, with a pure heart we will glorify Christ - and the peace of God and the joy of the Holy Duchy will reign in our hearts !!
On these holy days, let us carry ourselves in spirit to Bethlehem; let us meditate with all humility in the love of God for humanity, let us try to understand the absolute power of the Holy Scriptures and with the pure faith of a child, with a burning love, with a pure heart we glorify Christ and the peace of God and joy in the Spirit Holy will reign in our hearts!
With the joyous holiday of the Nativity of Christ and the coming New Year, I congratulate all of you, beloved fathers, brothers and sisters and spiritual children!
To all of you, beloved clergymen, brothers and sisters and spiritual children, I congratulate you, wishing you a merry Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
By the grace of God, humbly,
By God's mercy, humble
Bishop of Sao Paulo and South American
The Nativity of Christ 2017 / 2018g.
Bishop of São Paulo and South America
Christmas 25.12.2017 / 07.01.2018
ПРЕОСВЯЩЕННОГО ГРИГОРИЯ ЕПИСКОПА САН-ПАУЛСКОГО И ЮЖНО-АМЕРИКАНСКОГО.
“Се благовествую вам радость велию, яже будет всем людем. Яко родися вам днесь Спас, иже есть Христос Господь, во граде Давидове.” (Лук.2,10-11).
Возлюбленные о Господе боголюбивые клир, братия и сестры, верные чада Святой Русской Православной Церкви Заграницей!
Нет человека на земле, который не преклонный был бы к радости, не искал бы её, не жаждал бы её. Но земные радости никогда не могут полностью удовлетоворить человека. К тому же совсем не долговечны и часто сменяются на скорби и печали. То что радует одних, вызывает печаль у других. Не то духовная радость! Но где же её искать? Где её возможно приобрести? У Господа Бога - радость о Дусе Святе! И вот, в рождественскую ночь сами ангелы благовествовали Вифлеемским пастырям, а через них всему человечеству, радость велию . И какая же это радость? “ Яко родися вам днесь Спас, иже есть Христос Господь, во граде Давидове” . И так, из убогого Вифлеема возсияла истинная радость всему миру - Рождество Христово!
Но для чего же сошел Христос с небес? “Да нас на небеса возведет!” Через грех человечество потеряло рай. Христос Своим вочеловечением, Крестом и Воскресением дарует нам небо! “Чтобы мы по упованию соделались наследниками вечной жизни “(Тит.3,7). “Чтобы мы получили жизнь через Него “(1Ион.4,9).
Пророк Исаиа за семьсот лет до сего события возвестил его преестественность – “Се Дева во чреве приимет и родит Сына и нерекут имя Ему Еммануил, что значит: с нами Бог.” (Ис.7,14/ Mat.1,23) “С нами Бог, разумейте языцы, и покаряйтеся, яко с нами Бог!”( (Ис.8,9) Пение этой торжественной песни на всенощной составляет особенность богослужения настоящего праздника. Она возвещает о торжестве Царства Мессии-Христа, о том,что враждебные Христову Царству силы, хотя и кажутся по временам страшными, не могут устоять в день явления суда Божия. В свое время пророк Исаиа возвещал о грядушем Еммануиле только Дому Давидову. Ныне же нет места, где бы не проповедывалось о Господе Иисусе Христе и грядущем Его втором пришествии.
Дом Давидов тогда пренебрег словами Пророка и не оставил своих планов о союзе с язычниками, и не принял Мессию – Иисуса Христа Спасителя. И ныне многие по имени сущие от Дома Божия, христиане, и многие священнослужители занимающие даже высокие иерархические положения, и почти все государства земные, подобно чуждым жизни Божией отступникам, безбожникам, и идолопоклонникам устраивают пиршества и соглашения во имя врага Божия и исконного губителя рода человеческого. Заповеди Божии отстраняются а грех становится добродетелью. Без страха пред судом Божиим, во имя “всепрощающей любви “, идут веселиться туда, где явно попирается закон Божий, и хула на Бога не считается делом преступным.
Во время оно звездам служащии пришли поклониться Господу Иисусу Христу, а ныне нареченные Именем Его безразлично соучаствуют в беззаконных делах и пиршествах с носящими пятиконечную звезду - символ вражды против Господа Иисуса Христа.
“Услышите до последних земли - яко с нами Бог. Могущие покаряйтеся, яко с нами Бог. Страха же вашего не убоимся, ниже смутимся, яко с нами Бог. И уповая буду на Него, и спасуся Им, яко с нами Бог!”
В эти святые дни перенесемся мысленно в Вифлеем, смиренно поразмыслим о любви Божией к человеку, уразумеем силу и непреложность Божественных Писаний, с детскою верою и горячею любовию, с чистым сердцем прославим Христа, - и мир Божий и радость о Дусе Святе воцарится в сердцах наших!
С радостным праздником Рождества Христова и наступающим Новым Годом поздравляю всех вас, возлюбленные отцы, братия и сестры и чада духовные!
Божией милостию Смиренный
Eпископ Сан Паулский и Южно Американский
Рождесто Христово 2017/2018г.г
DE S.EMCIA. DOM GREGOR BISPO DE SÃO PAULO E AMÉRICA DO SUL
Da Igreja Ortodoxa Russa Fora da Russia
“ Eis que vos anuncio uma grande alegria que será para todo o povo: hoje nasceu para vós, na cidade de Davi, o Salvador que é Cristo, o Senhor” (Lc 2,10-11).
Meus amados no Senhor clérigos, irmãos e irmãs e filhos fiéis da Igreja Ortodoxa Russa fora da Rússia!
Não há ninguém na terra que pudesse ficar alheio à alegria e que não a buscasse ansiosamente. Não existe, porém, alegria terrena alguma capaz de satisfazer o ser humano. E, além do mais, toda alegria terrena é passageira e quase sempre acaba em dor e sofrimento. O que a uns contenta, a outros entristece. No entanto existe uma alegria que não é assim - é a alegria espiritual! Mas onde encontrá-la? Onde é possível adquiri-la? Em Deus nosso Senhor se encontra, a alegria no Espírito Santo e a felicidade plena!
Na noite de Natal, os anjos desceram do céu e anunciaram aos pastores de Belém uma grande alegria que, através deles, se propagou por toda a humanidade. E que alegria foi essa? "Que hoje nasceu para vós, na cidade de Davi, o Salvador que é Cristo, o Senhor". Foi assim que, da pobre Belém, surgiu a verdadeira alegria para todo o mundo: o Nascimento de Cristo!
Mas, para que Cristo Jesus desceu do céu? "Para nos conduzir ao céu!" Pelo pecado, a humanidade perdeu o paraíso. Cristo, pela Sua Encarnação, Cruz e Ressurreição nos dá de presente o céu! “A fim de que sejamos herdeiros da vida eterna, segundo a esperança” (Tito,3,7) “Para que por Êle tenhamos a vida” (1 João,4,9).
O Profeta Isaías, setecentos anos antes, profetizou o milagroso nascimento: "Eis que a virgem conceberá e dará à luz um filho e lhe dará o nome de Emanuel",o que quer dizer: "Deus é conosco!” (Isa.7,14/ Mat.1,23). “ Sabei, povos, e dobrai-vos, porque Deus (é)está conosco!" (Isa.8,9). Este cântico entoado na Grande Vigília é uma das partes principais do Ofício Divino desta festa. Os versos deste cântico celebram o triunfo do Reino do Cristo Messias, declarando que os poderes hostis ao Reino do Messias, embora às vezes pareçam aterrorizadores, não hão de se manter de pé no dia da manifestação do juízo divino. Em seus dias, o Profeta Isaías anunciou a vinda do Emanuel somente à casa de Davi. Hoje não há nenhum lugar no mundo, onde o Senhor Jesus Cristo e a Sua segunda vinda não tenham sido anunciados.
Naquele tempo, a casa de Davi desprezou as palavras do Profeta e não abandonou os planos de aliança com os povos pagãos, não aceitando, inclusive, o Messias – Jesus Cristo, o Salvador. Hoje, muitos dos que se dizem pertencer à casa de Deus, os cristãos e até mesmo muitos membros do clero, em sua mais alta hierarquia, e a maioria dos governos do mundo, imitando os apóstatas e os idólatras, alheios à vida divina, celebram banquetes e acordos em nome do inimigo de Deus e do antigo destruidor do gênero humano. As Leis de Deus são vilipendiadas e o pecado se tornou virtude! Sem temer o juízo de Deus, confiantes no "amor que tudo perdoa" entregam-se às diversões nos lugares onde se desrespeita a lei de Deus, e onde blasfemar não é nenhum crime.
Naquele tempo, os adoradores das estrelas vieram adorar Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo; hoje, pessoas batizadas em Seu nome participam indiferentemente de atos e banquetes condenáveis com os portadores da estrela de cinco pontas, símbolo da hostilidade contra Nosso Senhor Jesus Cristo.
"Ouvi, com toda atenção, até os confins da terra - porque Deus está conosco. Poderosos do mundo, dobrai-vos - porque Deus está conosco. Não temeremos o que temeis; não nos perturbaremos - porque Deus está conosco. Nele ponho sempre minha esperança, Êle me salvará - porque Deus está conosco!"(Vigília natalina)
Nestes dias santificados, transportemo-nos em espírito até Belém; meditemos com toda humildade no amor de Deus à humanidade, procuremos entender o poder absoluto das Sagradas Escrituras e com a fé pura de uma criança, com amor ardente, com o coração puro glorifiquemos a Cristo, e a paz de Deus e a alegria no Espírito Santo reinarão em nossos corações!
A todos vós, amados clérigos, irmãos e irmãs e filhos espirituais, felicito, desejando um alegre e Feliz Natal e próspero Ano Novo.
Pela Graça de Deus, Humildemente,
Bispo de São Paulo e América do Sul