Nativity Epistle of Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires and South America

"Fear 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.