BY THE GRACE OF GOD, POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AND ALL AFRICA, TO THE FAITHFUL OF THE CHURCH IN AFRICA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE DIVINE EPIPHANY
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
My beloved brethren in Christ and blessed, beloved children in the Lord,
The Word of God, having authority over everything and being the pre-existing, only-begotten Son, God the Word receives flesh and becomes man. He dwells among us. He dwells among humankind so that we may see and comprehend the radiant grandeur of God.
Divine Revelation through the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, is accomplished for the rebirth and salvation of humankind. It is accomplished so as to assist in humankind’s return to God’s embrace and the discovery and comprehension of the true aim of our creation. Because God is love, God calls humankind to participate in this love. But does humankind today search for, and accept this love of God? How does humankind perceive this love to be expressed through one’s love for fellow-man? Unfortunately, in the 21st century, a great number of people, instead of feeling this love, feel alienation, loneliness, egotism. It is even within the most important nuclear unit of society, the family – the Blessed Sacrament of Marriage, that we observe rifts and alienation, spiritual emptiness and disintegration of the relationships between the members. Separations, fighting, egotistical inclinations, selfish motives – all contribute to creating real misery in the family members, especially the young children in whose soul pessimism and a negative image of life takes root. The workplace too, is characterized by unjust competition, slander, extreme individualism and egotism, vain ambition, instead of noble co-operation and meritocracy. Generally speaking, the whole of humankind’s social life and activity is characterized by anxiety. This is the result of humankind distancing itself from God’s love. Misery, poverty and misfortune, violence and wars are not condemned outright but are even excused in the name of freedom. Very often they are even excused in the name of God – as protector of wars and violence.
Humankind searches in vain for the solution to this chaotic situation in social and economic advancement, in the cure of the soul by psychologists, psychoanalysts and medication. Tranquillity of soul and true happiness are to be found where there is love in the hearts of people. Peace and concord are not to be achieved with treaties, agreements and signatures, but with their establishment deep within the soul of each of us. The Birth of the God-Man offers us this love, sealed with His own precious Blood. We become communicants of this precious Body and Blood through the Common Cup and it unites us in the Life in Christ.
This Life in Christ characterized by humility, self-denial and the selfless and continuous service towards our brother and fellow man.
We, on the African Continent, the spiritual jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, have close to us numerous suffering brethren. They await love and comfort from us. They await for every Orthodox Christian to show them why Christ was born, why He voluntarily sacrificed Himself, why He was resurrected and how His great teaching “Love one another” can be put into action.
Beloved brethren, beloved children in the Lord,
We pray always for peace everywhere and for the health of all. We wish you all, from the depths of our heart, that the Divine Infant of Bethlehem lead you on the path of His will and grant you all grace and rich mercy in the New Year of His goodness.
POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AND ALL AFRICA
IN THE GREAT CITY OF ALEXANDRIA