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Christmas Epistle by his Eminence Tikhon, Archbishop of Omsk and Siberia, the Chairman of the Synod of Russian True-Orthodox Church


«Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost»

The Gospel according to Matthew

By this Good News, together with Apostle and Evangelist Matthew I would like to share with you, dear in Christ arch pastors, pastors, brothers and sisters!

The Son of God has come to seek and to save that which was lost. He has come quietly, noiselessly He came down on the ground and has incarnated… “Both a drop of dew is falling on the ground and the power of the Most High overshadowed the Holy Virgin and the Savior of the world was born from Her”.

And sun and moon wondered, and angels stood motionless in perplexity and rapture.

Thus quietly and lowly Christ born in a heart of each man, and if the heart is sensitive, live – it will thrill from the touching of right hand of God, it will cry of it’s sins and be glad of its salvation. And the Lord will settle in it forever. And the man will gape for to be with God forever. And the Paradise, lost by man Paradise will be a part of its heart, and the heart will be a part of Paradise here on the Earth by now. And the gates of Hades shall not overpower such a heart!

This is holiness indeed; available for each man since Christ the Savior came to the world. Assembly of the holy people of God is the living chronicle of the victory of Christ over the Hades, the evidence of the defeat of the Hades in the Eternity… It is necessary to have a desire to be apart of the Great Victory.

“But the world, as St. John of Shanghai says, missed the great deed made by God. Everybody was busy with his own cares, their attention was directed to everyday cares and to loud world developments.”

Is that not so today, later two thousands years? Look around: what is so called the world doing, which cares it busy with? Where the heart of the modern man directed at and is there the place for Christ the Lord? And we will say honestly: there is no place for Paradise in the heart of modern man to a greater extent than two thousands years ago. The man of his own free will banished it from his heart, and the Hades settled in it, right here on the earth.

Why so and what does the “world” in its core?

Due to words of Isaac Syrian the world is the “life according to flesh and philosophizing due to flesh”. This is aggregate of customs and tempers imbued with sinful, impassioned onset. This is a sphere of action of the human self-love and egoism. “…The whole world lies in the evil one” (1 John 5:19) and distinguish feature of world-lovers is a “care of just a transient without of attention to the Eternal life, the care of solely arrangement of earth happiness without attention to the moral law and suggestion of the fear of God”, as St. Theophanous teaches us.

But it is impossible the absolute happiness on the earth, out of Christ, because the man cannot to deliver himself from embrace of the suffering and death by own strength. The world does not want to submit with this and to accept this one, it resists, struggles against Christ, wages moral and actual war with Him to death… But we are Christians know: God is not in the power but in the Truth. The world will not be overcomer. Because born and resurrected Christ is the Way to the Truth, and He is the Way by Itself and Eternal Life (John 14:6). There will no sufferings in Him and there is no death in Him already!

Because God is love. As due to word of Reverend Justin Popovich “love is the essence of God”. And at the same time “the other truth is evident: love is inevitable essence of man too”. Thus it is simply and wisely: God is love and this is the first and the main news of Christian and the second one the man is love”.

And if so what does Hades mean? “Hades, and this is the great discovery of Theodore Dostoyevskiy, is the suffering of that is no more to be a subject of love”.

But to get the Eternal Life it is needed to desire to become a part of His Great Victory, of His divine, God-man Love. It is need to accept of His Truth, of His Himself, His love in your heart and to desire to change of your life… It is necessary to love Him by His love: “a man who loves by God-man love will never die as this love cannot be disappointed by any death and this love cannot be killed by any death”. And that is Paradise.

Saint John Zlatoust explains to us, “God rewards with wreaths of those seeing on the propensity to of the working but not on the end of feat”. By these words the Saint elucidates to us, what God is expecting from us, and what gives us the hope to the wreath of the Eternal Life.

Not our any great “merits” to God gives us the hope but our internal inclination, aspiration, and willingness to work for Lord in harmful realization of our own limited nature and infirmity, because we can do nothing without Lord. (John 15:5). And the very way of our internal spiritual work is boundless as the very perfection is boundless … And this process, this labor, this feat of growing in Christ will never end, for will never be the limit of Life with God.

This is for that Christ was born lowly and quietly. For that God became a Man, passed throw the suffering and death towards Resurrection. For no more death and for hell will have no victory over us.

Never!

Amen.

Christmas 2006/2007

+ Tikhon,

by the mercy of God,

Archbishop of Omsk and Siberia,

Chairman of the Synod of Bishops

Russian True-Orthodox Church

Address-Appeal to the Clergy and Faithful Sons and Daughters of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad from the First Hierarch of the Synod of the True Orthodox Church Archbishop Tikhon
Обращение - Призыв Председателя Архиерейского Синода Русской Истинно-Православной Церкви Архиепископа Тихона к духовенству и верным чадам Русской Зарубежной Церкви (на английском и русском языках)

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