DIOCESE OF SAN FRANCISCO AND WESTERN AMERICA: January 10, 2008
Nativity Epistle of His Eminence Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco and Western America
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
"The Light of Wisdom has shone to the world!" With these words, from the troparion to the Nativity of Christ, the Holy Church reminds us to rejoice. By accepting the form of a man, through the Most-Pure Virgin Mary, the Wisdom of God, the Word—of One-Essence with Father and the Spirit—has appeared in our sinful, obtuse and wayward world.
Besides taking upon Himself the sufferings and agonizing death for our redemption, our Saviour also bore the hardships associated with infancy. On that holy night, in every sense, Divine Wisdom prominently radiated through all creation in the appearance of a minute God-Infant born into poverty, need and want. However, no deprivation could detract from the unfathomable joy of the instant when God Himself entered the world, which He created. The Light of His everlasting Wisdom radiated, enlightened and drew unto Himself all fallen mankind so that all of us could be guided onto the path of Truth, The Holy Apostle and Evangelist used the words of the Most Holy Mother of God to bear witness that all Creation rejoiced on that night. The heavens untwined; Angels sang for all to hear; a star mysteriously halted over the Bethlehem grotto and simple shepherds together with kings from beyond the seas came to bow before the Infant Christ. According to Holy Tradition, even the animals with awe met their Originator and Creator. Every aspect of the world was forever changed. From that moment when Christ the Saviour became fully embodied into human flesh, He, through words and actions, communicated to us His Ever-lasting Divine Wisdom. To this day, through imperceptible means, Divine Wisdom remains on the earth and surrounds us—through saturation of the air and consecration of the water. The Light of Truth has prevailed despite the attempts by Christ's enemies to erase, purge and obliterate from man's memory the incarnation and birth of the Infant-God. The memory of Christ's Divine sojourn, here on our earth, has been memorialized for the ages to come. The Truth has always been triumphant over the powers of darkness, even when torment and persecution have been used to try to eradicate the Truth from people's cognizance. It is impossible for anything to snuff out the Light of Wisdom (without which nothing could exist). Everything for our Lord God is calculated, logical, intentional, harmonious, thoughtful and beautiful. It is our lack of faith or slothfulness that denies Divine Wisdom, and we then begin to investigate ways to manipulate the inscrutable order of God's creation. The persecutor of the Christ-Child, Herod, needlessly searched for means to kill the Son of God, and persecutors on many occasions attempted to destroy the Church; however, all failed. Brothers and Sisters, this year our Russian Orthodox Church for the first time, since the Reconciliation, greets the Nativity of Christ by communing from One Holy Chalice, This miracle of our time is another brilliant witness, to the entire world, of the all encompassing, unconquerable power of the Light of Wisdom. Our God, Christ, Who was born two thousand seven years ago, said "for without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5) and promising "I will establish My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew l6:18). He is the Divine Wisdom, without Whom there is no Church, life, grace, abundance of the fruits of the earth nor tranquil seasons. With Thy Divine Wisdom, o Christ our God, enlighten us sinners, who run to Thee and depend upon Thee! Amen.
+ Archbishop KYRILL
December 25/ January 7, 2008