Address Our churchOtherHistoryNewsRussian
NewmartyrsCalendarIconsPhoto albumSite map


From His Holiness Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia
To archpastors, pastors, the monastics and all the faithful children
of the Russian Orthodox Church

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Maker of all,
Eden offers a cave
And a star discloses Christ,
the Son, to those in darkness:
(From the Great Compline)

Beloved in the Lord, Most Reverend archpastors, All-honourable fathers, Humble nuns and monks, God-loving laity – my dear brothers and sisters! I wholeheartedly congratulate you on the great and radiant feast of the Nativity of Christ!

Let us thank the Lord, for by His ineffable love of mankind we have again been given the joy of participation in the Mystery of our salvation, which was promised from the beginning, which has happened recently (cf. 1 Cor. 10:11) and which is with us unto all ages. Let us rejoice, for the great Mystery of the Divine Incarnation was accomplished on earth as the world saw its Creator, God the Word, enter it to remove the wall erected by the fall between the creation and the Creator and to give renewed humanity eternal life and the joy of communion with God.

Christ is born on earth and in the soul of every Christian who gives his heart to the Creator. But it is only a pure heart in which there is neither evil nor sin that can be given to God. Beloved ones, let us tirelessly purify our hearts, concerned over "one thing that is needful" (Lk. 10:42), and our efforts will not be in vain, for the Lord knows everything and the human life is in His hand.

Today, two thousand years after "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn. 1:14), the Kingdom of God has drawn nearer, because the Church of Christ has since shone forth in many of her saints. In the Saviour's days on earth, there were few disciples with Him, but in the Holy Church He founded their number has multiplied. Innumerable zealots, ascending to the radiant glory of the Lord from the Church on earth, the foundation of the Church in heaven, bring the Kingdom of God nearer and nearer, doing it to this day when they are joined by the host of Russia's New Martyrs and Confessors. Today they intercede at the Throne of the Heavenly King for their earthly homeland, for every one of us.

The joy of the Divine Infant Who was born into the world is illumined for us with the joy of the Risen Christ. "Why is our celebration today of the Nativity greater than the festivity of that time?" St. Ambrose of Milan asks and answers: "At that time they rejoiced only in the Lord Who was born, while today we glorify Him not only as born but also as risen and reigning together with the Father and the Spirit". In the Nativity of Christ we see both the Resurrection of the Saviour of the world and His reign in glory.

Dear archpastors, fathers, brothers and sisters, the first year of the new century has been, by God's mercy, beneficent for the Russian Orthodox Church. The construction of new churches and the restoration of the ruined ones have continued; new monasteries and theological schools have been opened; our cooperation with the state and society has strengthened.

In the past year the Lord saw fit for me to visit several dioceses of our Church. I visited four Belorussian dioceses of Brest, Pinsk, Turov and Gomel, which has been affected by the Chernobyl disaster most of all. In the diocese of Tobolsk in western Siberia I visited five cities and consecrated new churches there. I will keep the grateful memory of my visitations to the diocese of St. Petersburg, dear to me as I served there, the diocese of Moscow, where we consecrated the church of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos at Podolsk, which has been restored from ruins, and the dioceses of Chuvashia and Kaluga. The major event during my visitation to the diocese of Tula was the requiem service at the Kulikovo Battlefield. I remember with joy my pilgrimage to the Monastery of the Holy Transfiguration at Solovki Islands and my visit to the newly-established diocese of Baku.

I made an official visit to the Republic of Armenia to take part in the celebrations devoted to the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in that country.

I remember the gratifying moments of my prayerful communion with the flock. Visiting dioceses far and near, I can see that more and more people are returning to the faith of their forefathers. Thousands of pilgrims, who shared with us in church prayer, a great many children, who came to take the Holy Communion – all this shows that the Orthodox soul of the people is alive and its restoration to its former strength is near at hand. Let us pray for the people of our land, who have gone through much suffering to deserve a better fate. Let us work to renew and transform our life. Only with God's help can we overcome the imperfection of human nature and attain a righteous and holy life full of peace and welfare.

It is true that we still face many hardships and problems. These are poverty, social insecurity, the threat of terrorism, crime, the propagation of immorality, spreading alcoholism, drug-addiction and other dreadful vices. Underlying all this is the distorted human soul and it means that it is impossible to change society for the better without faith, hope and charity. The Orthodox people have always been aware of this. It was not fortuitous that, experiencing a troubled time or coming to new lands, they always built churches so that they could lift up a prayer to the Lord, for our pious ancestors understood that no human order can stand fast without the will of God.

Last year the Lord visited us with many sorrows as floods, hurricanes and scorching draughts fell upon our land. There is unrest in the world today. People have again arisen against each other. Thousands of civilians in various countries have fallen victim to the evil will. In the hardest situation however, we will not forget the words of Christ the Saviour addressed to each of us: "Be not afraid, only believe" (Mk. 5:36)! Suffering should not harden our hearts. Indeed, if the Lord leads us along the narrow path of sorrows, we come closer to the House of the Father, the Heavenly Kingdom. Let us then intensify our prayer for our fatherland, for our people and for the entire human race. And let us remember that the joy that has been given us overcomes every misfortune generated by "this world".

"So, let us rejoice, brethren, that we have also been given to offer reward to the Lord for 'all, as He has rewarded us'", says St. Theodore the Studite, "What is this reward? – The cross-bearing life we have received and the confession 'wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God' (Rom. 5:2). And this should be celebrated not one day but all life". Our every day and every hour, my dear ones, should be filled with the joy of the Lord, especially on the radiant day of His Nativity. May no room remain in our hearts for fear and dejection, for enmity and discord, for despair and lack of faith in the power of God. Let us exult over the Divine Infant Who has been born, communicating this joy to the whole world, bringing to those who are far and who are near the light of the Gospel's message.

My beloved ones, again and again I wholeheartedly congratulate you on the great and salvific feast of the Nativity of Christ! On the eve of the new year of the Lord's grace, let us give thanks from our hearts to the Lord Almighty for His "great and abundant mercies" shed upon us. I wish you, reverend archpastors, dear fathers, brothers and sisters, God's inexhaustible help in the new year, as well as spiritual and physical strength so that you may be steadfast in carrying the cross of life and working for the good of our Holy Mother Russian Orthodox Church. May the Lord Almighty bless us all with peace and may the beneficial Protection of the Heavenly Queen be always with us!

"Christ is on earth – be exalted!"

Patriarch of Moscow anl all Russia

The Nativity of Christ 2001/2002, Moscow
(with some corrections by Russion text)

Address Our churchOtherHistoryNewsRussian
NewmartyrsCalendarIconsPhoto albumSite map

TopList Храм св. мц. Татианы - домовая церковь МГУ ЧИСТЫЙ ИНТЕРНЕТ - logoSlovo.RU