The Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord

OCA Chancery
Syosset, New York

December, 2002

To the Reverend Clergy, Venerable Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America

Dearly Beloved in the Lord:

Christ is born! Glorify Him!

In Ephesians 2:10, Saint Paul reminds us that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

By creating us in His image and likeness, God honored us as the “crown of creation.” Yet, as Saint Paul also reminds us, through sin, death entered the world, disfiguring and distorting the very creation God called “good.”

God could not bear to see His People, His creation, suffer. He sent His only-begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, into the world to save all that was worth saving and to renew and restore all that had been disfigured. He established a new covenant with His People-a covenant based not on the fulfillment of the Law but, rather, on our ability to discern the image of the Creator in those around us, even the “least of the brethren,” and to respond accordingly by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving drink to the thirsty, and ministering to the sick and imprisoned and lonely and abandoned.

While we are called to join the angels, shepherds and Magi in worshipping the newborn Child of Bethlehem, we are also reminded of how, by the birth of His Son, God honors us, restores us, renews us, and puts us on the narrow path of a living, active faith. He is the Light of the world, yet He calls us to be lights to the world. He is the Way, yet He asks us to invite the world to join us on our journey of faith. As the crown of His “workmanship,” He continually engages us in the divine work of proclaiming the gift of salvation, so freely offered to the world, to all who would listen.

As we celebrate the birth of Our Savior and contemplate our own spiritual rebirth in Him, let us recommit ourselves to putting our faith into action every moment of our lives. Let us put our faith into action through the good works we were created to perform. And let us give thanks for the opportunity to once again walk in and with the Lord, that through us, He and He alone may be glorified!

As we enter into the bright celebration of the Lord’s birth, I wish to assure you of my blessing and prayerful best wishes for a joyous celebration of the Lord’s Nativity and a New Year that is rich in divine blessings. I offer my blessing and greetings to the clergy, clergy wives, clergy widows and clergy families, to the monastics, to the faithful, and especially to all the families of our Church. May the Lord continue to bless you all with health, happiness, and all that is necessary for salvation.

With love in the newborn Christ,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada