by God’s mercy, Archbishop of the Most Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Primate and Exarch of All Oceania, to the God-loving Bishops, the gracious clergy and monastic brotherhoods, to the Presidents of the honourable Administrative Committees and Philoptochos Associations, to the teachers and students in the Schools, to those who work in the philanthropic institutions and to all the Christ-loving plenitude of the Orthodox Church in Australia, grace and peace from our Saviour Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem.
Venerable Brother fellow Bishops and my beloved children,
Today, we celebrate the birth in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ. Before us is the mystery of the incarnation, according to which God becomes human so as to make the human person God. In this way, Christ offers Himself to all, giving us the possibility to be saved.
God remains faithful to His promises, even when people do not seek Him, even when people ignore Him, or worse still, when they deny Him. And certainly, in the world in which we live, that promises many material goods and comforts, glory and prosperity, it is humanly understandable for some to reject or ignore a God who can only offer us freedom from death.
However, my beloved friends, we realise on a daily basis that wealth does not make a human person rich. Glory does not give joy to the soul. Comforts do not give meaning to our existence. People, today, rely on false supports: on their knowledge, their strengths, their power and on their wealth. Christ became a human person so that we can have the possibility to be supported in the truth and light. Because without Christ we are poor. Without Christ we are miserable. Without Christ, our soul will always thirst.
I ask you fervently to direct your love towards Christ. Place Christ and your neighbour as the fundamental priority in your life. Love souls. Not bodies. Not money. Not self-serving interests. Not strength. Not power. Love only Christ and the souls of people.
I wish a blessed Christmas and many years to the entire flock of the Australian Continent, and to all our relatives and friends, who live far away.
In Sydney, on the 25th day of December, 2019
† Makarios of Australia
7th Encyclical, 25 December, 2019