Today, on January 7, Russian Orthodoxy celebrates one of the most important Church holidays – the Birth of Christ. Together with the Russian Orthodox Church, this holiday, one of the most significant on the Christian calendar is also celebrated by the Serbian and Georgian Churches, the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem and the Church of Mount Athos. According to the traditions of Orthodox believers in Russia and all Russian people around the world, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has sent his Christmas greetings.
“On this radiant and joyful feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ I cordially greet you all, my dear ones. On this light-bearing night together we prayerfully recall the Grace the Lord bestowed upon us.”
The coming of the Son of God into the world is his voluntary self-abnegation, ready to descend to a tortuous and shameful death on the cross in order to show us the road to salvation, give us strength to weather the hardships and build our life in keeping with His moral teachings, to change the life surrounding us and achieve salvation.
Narrator: The Patriarch emphasized that no matter how difficult the past year was, material riches should always take a back seat to the moral law, which ought to be in each and every one of us.
“Today the worst tribulations occur not in the material but in the spiritual realm. If natural disasters and wars ruin the external structure of life, then moral relativism corrodes one’s conscience, making us spiritual invalids.”
We are to resist this danger in the first instance by listening to the voice of our conscience warning us of the danger of sin, to be able to make our actions fit the commandments of the Gospel.
Narrator: To live in harmony with oneself means living according to the teachings of our Church – that’s the only way we can fulfill our Christian duties. And the Christmas season will only help those willing to be with and within the Church, the Patriarch added.
“Now, as always, each Christian is called upon to assert through his everyday actions the dignity of a righteous way of life.
We are surrounded by a great number of infirm, sick and lonely people who need our care.
With those who hope for the consolation of Christ we are to share warmly the joy of today’s feast. Each of us can bring the light of the star of Bethlehem to those close to us and far from us – to our colleagues, friends, relatives and neighbors.”
In congratulating all of you on the Nativity of Christ, I prayerfully wish that you abide unfailingly in the joy of the Lord.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia said in conclusion of his Christmas message.