by the mercy of God, 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,
It is a fact that an all-pervasive insecurity and fear prevails throughout the world, which spreads out like a cloud of dust, causing a disturbing shortness of breath within humanity. Many try to cope with this unpleasant situation accumulating material goods and wealth. Others believe that their relationship with the powerful operatives of this world will save them from suffocation. Still, others resort to spiritual vaccinations with outdated ideas and philosophies, or even with religious teachings, which, being not true, instead of healing, spiritually poison and torment the human person.
The incarnation of the Son and Word of God constitutes the antidote to the virus of sorrow and fear. The birth of Christ is a source of true joy for the universe, a source of hope and strength for all of us who experience the deeper spiritual dimension of this great feast of our Lord within our Church. Today “all things are filled with joy”, because “He is born from the Virgin”. If we truly come to love Christ, if Christ becomes the great desire of our life, then, not only are we not afraid of any disease and pandemic, but also not even of death itself. We are not afraid of death, because we know that Christ became human so that He may give us the possibility to become gods; to live eternally and to dwell in His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven.
My beloved brothers and sisters, close your eyes for a moment, as we close our eyes when we pray, when we cry, when we dream and when we love. Close your eyes, because the most beautiful things in life, we do not see, but we feel them. Close you eyes and give me your hand, so that we may travel all together to distant Bethlehem, and there may we all kneel, united like one great family, before the manger of the newborn Christ. Let us kneel, not to ask for things for ourselves, or material goods, or even for a cure from diseases and pandemics. Let us ask only one thing from Christ: that His will may be done in our lives and not ours. And at the same time, together with the angels, let us sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will to all people”.
A blessed Christmas and a happy new year!
In Sydney, on the 25th of December, 2020
† Makarios of Australia