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December 7, 2021
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His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church: Christmas 2014 Pastoral Letter

(…) “The Mystery of the Birth of Our Lord’s eternal Son, who became a human out of endless love for humans, is the foundation and heart of Christian faith (…) Thus, the Celebration of the Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ is, first of all, the celebration of Our Lord’s merciful love for humans. The son of the Almighty God came down from the skies, was embodied from the Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary and became a man in order to offer sinful and mortal men forgiveness for their sins and eternal living. As he came down to us, he opened our road to rise towards Him.

The Holy Fathers of the Church meditated deeply on the meaning of the Mystery of Embodiment and Birth as a human of Our Lord’s eternal son. “He, who has no beginning, receives a beginning by being born in a body in Betlehem” and “despite being uncontainable, is contained in a womb and is born for us from that motherly womb”, as the songs that announce the celebration of God’s birth tell us.

(…) Thus, Baby Jesus, The Child God is born sinless, but he grows, lives and struggles in a world deeply encrusted with sin and forms of spiritual and physical death. Welcomed joyfully in Betlehem by angels, shepherds and the Wise Men from the East, he is, on the other hand, oppressed by King Herod, who attempts to Kill Him. Later, as He starts His public activity, Jesus is loved by the crowds of people he enlightens and spiritually feeds with the Gospel of pure love, treating them of diseases, passions and pains due to His gift that grants Holy Life.

By his manner of speaking, living and doing good deeds, Jesus Christ shows us that he is completely Human for humans, or, more precisely, he is the Human God, the supreme measure of the sacred and eternal human, able of infinite love and eternal love.

Jesus Christ, born to a virgin-mother, poor and humble, in a modest cave, will always be humble and materially poor, yet rich and loyal in his purity, sacredness and merciful love. Supreme model and constant promoter of truth and justice, humility and forgiveness, peace and forgiving love, Our Saviour Jesus Christ wants to heal and to free the human or what is wasting his humanity: pride, lies, avarice, injustice, hypocrisy, deception, violence and hatred. This is why He blesses the humble ones, people who regret their own sins, the gentle us, the ones who desire justice, merciful ones, pure-hearted ones and peacemakers. Actually, Our Lord Jesus shows us what is inhuman and what is human, what makes a human fall and decay, but also what makes a human rise in goodness and sacredness, and become more human, resembling the Sacred and Gentle God.

(…) This is why Jesus praises good and rightful people and teaches penitence and reformations to evil ones and sinners, advising them to heal and rise in order to achieve forgiveness, redemption and the eternal life.

(…) By becoming a human, the Son of God assumed our fallen condition, with all our weaknesses and feelings such as: hunger, exhaustion, suffering, fear of pain and death. Although living like a human among humans, Jesus never committed any sins; the weaknesses of His human nature never became any reasons for Him to depart from God’s will, or to defy the love of God and of our neighbour, this love of humble and merciful love that represents the specific of the human as a creature created to resemble god or the communion of life and eternal love that defines the Trinity.

(…) Christ Our Lord, leaving the Skies and descending into Humility, comes to us today in many forms, as an unknown traveller or pilgrim; he comes in the humble faces of poor people, orphaned children and abandoned elderly, of suffering and lonely invalids, of saddened and mourning people, of hungry and homeless people.

In our everyday life but, most of all, during these holidays, let us all offer our beloved ones gifts and symbols of happiness. Let us bring joy in homes and souls filled by sadness and loneliness, sickness and poverty, suffering and alienation. Let us answer Christ’s unlimited love, The One Who left the skies and descended for the redemption of humans by deeds of our brotherly love, knowing that the true faith is the one that works with love.

Let us not forget to pray, as part of our deeds of brotherly love for Christmas and New Year, for our Romanian brothers who are far away from the country and their homes, beyond Romania’s borders. We pray Our Lord Jesus Christ to give them help in their lives and in keeping and cultivating their Orthodox faith and Romanian spirituality, so that their work and study abroad would not become alienation or spiritual estrangement from their beloved living in Romania.

In the night of December 31, 2014 to January 1, 2015, and in New Year’s Day, we should rise a prayer to thank God for the blessings he gave us during the year 2014 that went by and to ask for his help in all our good and useful deeds for the New Year we are entering.

The Holy Synod of the Romanian Orthodox Church has declared the year 2015 as a Homage Year of Today’s Mission of the Parish and Monastery and the Commemorative Year of St. John Chrysostom and of the Great Soul Pastors of the Eparchies.

St. John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople, was the greatest preacher of the Orthodox Church. He defended and promoted the sacredness and the dignity of the family, the light and virtues of the monastic life and the philanthropic work of the Church in Society. He was not only a great supporters of the Holy Writings, but also a fighter for the dignity of the human being, for justice and sacredness. A teacher of penitence, prayers and charity, St. John Chrysostom also taught people to get rich by sharing and gaining treasures in the sky.

(…) From the perspective of today’s desecrated world, where gaining ephemeral material goods and egotistical individualism are reigning instead of the cultivation of Christian virtues, such as the love of God and of our neighbour, sacredness and humility, there is an increasing need of a common  pastoral – missionary work, to intensify the preservation of the Christian identity by learning about the life of the saints and by having spiritual role models to grow in faith and good deeds in order to resemble our Merciful and Sacred God.

Let us hope that all of these values will help us spiritually build a church in our souls, but that they will also help us contribute more to the building of the Nation’s Redemption Cathedral, a sacred ideal of many generations, if we consider that 130 years have passed (1884 – 2014) since King Carol I promulgated the Cathedral Law and it is concretely built just now, as a practical necessity and as a symbol of our national dignity.

During these days of celebration and holy joy for our Christian life, we advise you all, with fatherly and brotherly Christian love, to show the light of good faith and of good deeds wherever you are and to share with others the joy of the Holy Christmas Days, the Baptizing of Our Lord and the New Year.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

*(Excerpts)

 

 

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