Epistle of Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires and South America
not! For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall
be to all people: for unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).
The brightest and most uplifting feelings are aroused in us by the
approaching feast of the Nativity of Christ. And here, before everything--the
feeling of thanks to the Son of God, Who came into our fallen world,
became Man, and in everything became like us except in sin. He was
born in a wretched cave, because for the Savior of the world there
was not found another residence... Growing up, our Savior lives
and works among craftsmen and fishermen. Being the Physician of
souls and bodies, He does not disdain the society of even the most
fallen of people, sharing the adversities of the homeless poor.
"The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests,
but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head" (Matthew
8:20). But His Divine word possesses a powerful strength: penetrating
the hearts of the people, it regenerates them. Soulless nature docilely
obeys Him; death returns to life those captured by it; the demons
tremble and pray to Him to defer their punishment.
Reading the Gospel narrative, it is comforting for us not only that
this is remembrances of the past but also that on this day He is
with us--in the most real way. Already for more than two thousand
years His life-creating word of the Gospel enlightens our minds,
pouring into us fresh spiritual strengths. He guides our life. He
saves us from misfortunes, accepts our prayers, and helps us in
difficulties. He puts life in the grace-giving mysteries. Even the
worst family or society is made happy at His presence: "Where
two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among
them" (Matthew 18:20).
Especially clearly are His mercy and Divine strength felt by all
the suffering, the sick, by those deprived of their share--all those
fallen into misfortune, for whom there is no one to turn to for
help. As at the time of His earthly life, so also now, as in the
word of the prophet, He takes upon Himself our feebleness and carries
our sicknesses... by His sores we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5).
The number of instances of the Lord's love for man is beyond number.
Here, one struggling with a heavy illness joyfully thanks the Savior
that He has heard his prayer and helped. Here is the atheist, finding
faith, and together with it, he has found the sense of his earthly
existence. Here is the rich man, in the past enslaved by the passion
of the love of gain, finding joy in the search for spiritual riches.
Here is the perishing drug addict or alcoholic, freed from his sickness,
beginning to lead a healthy way of life. Here is he who had been
sinking in the sin of fornication, having repented, standing on
the path of purity and chastity.
These and similar instances bear witness that the grace of Christ
has not grown meager. As in ancient Judea, so also today, it powerfully
regenerates even the most desperate sinner, making the feeble healthy,
the depressed joyful, the thoughtless wise, and the self-deluded
in life to move along the path of eternal blessedness.
So let us completely hope on the grace of Christ being given to
us in His Church. Let us thank the Savior that He loves us and constructs
everything for our salvation. If we will not obstruct and oppose
Him, He will without fail save us, for it is for this that He, the
Lord, the all-wise and all-merciful, came to us.
With the joyful feast of the Nativity of Christ, I greet you all,
my dear ones!
+ Bishop Alexander
From the Editors: Bishop Alexander attached to this epistle
to his flock the interview in Nezavisimaya Gazeta by Archbishop
Mark of Berlin and Germany and the article by Protopriest Yaroslav
Belikow on the visit of His Eminence Metropolitan Laurus to the
South American Diocese, both already having appeared on our website.