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6 Jan, 2014 20:28

Patriarch Kirill's Christmas message: Remember victims of terrorism in your prayers

The Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, has delivered his traditional Christmas address to the nation.

The Orthodox Church is celebrating Christmas.

The reason this feast is so important is because it commemorates God’s incarnation.

God becomes man, and this union of the divine and human elements can no longer be broken.

The perception of Christ in a modern secular mind has been greatly distorted.

People see Christ merely as an altruist, as a champion of moral principles, as a spiritual leader of the Christians. But we will never abandon the genuine, evangelical concept of Christ as a God-man.

Christ is like a tuning fork for human nature. If we lose this standard, we’ll have nothing to help us withstand the immense challenges which we face today and which target primarily the traditional and genuine concept of humanity.

Today, it’s important for us all to concentrate on Christ, checking all our words and actions with Christ. We should be inspired by His boundless love for humanity, His zeal in serving the heavenly Father, His modesty and meekness, His intolerance to sin and long-suffering with sinners, His fortitude in suffering all the difficulties and trials of human life, His genuineness and simplicity in dealing with people, His willingness to sacrifice Himself for others which was manifested in so many ways: God comes into the world, not as a powerful and glorious King to have people serve and please Him; no, he is meekly born in a stable for cattle to serve people and give up His life in order to save them.

For the first time ever, God Himself came to demonstrate to the whole world what a real, genuine man should be like. What’s more, He also provided us with everything we need so that anyone who believes in Him could become just like Him. The mystery of baptism brings us into the church, the community of faith. Through the Holy Eucharist, we partake of the Savior’s body and blood and thus partake of divine nature.

The church service reminds us of what Christ accomplished to save us, inspires us with the Word of God and with the models of the saints. All these things can produce a radical transformation within us. By living in Christ and imitating Him, even while still living here on the earth man can have a foretaste of future eternal blessings; man can live according to the spirit of God’s love which will reign in the life to come.

The Savior says to us: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” Today, our joy over Christ’s being born into the world should manifest itself in our readiness to celebrate this holiday by performing a specific good work. We always have people around us who need our help and support -- our family members or perhaps someone living next door, or in the neighborhood, and especially lonely patients in hospices and hospitals, those who are depressed and burdened with sorrows and worldly care.

Bring them the glad tidings of Christ’s birth. May your smile and your joy melt the chill in their souls. Remember in your prayers the victims of terrorist attacks in Volgograd and Pyatigorsk. Let’s ask our Lord to heal the injured, strengthen the afflicted and rest the deceased. May the walls of enmity that divide people come down on this wonderful day of Christ’s birth through the love of Christ and through your active love for your neighbor.

Happy holiday, my dear ones!