"Do not do anything without signing yourself with the Sign of the Cross! … All of you should be sealed with the Sign of Christ’s victory over hell. Then you will no longer be afraid of charms, evil spirits, or sorcery, because these are dissolved by the power of the Cross like wax before fire and like dust before the wind."
Elder Cleopa[109]

ANTIOCHIAN ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN ARCHDIOCESE

OF THE BRITISH ISLES AND IRELAND

Beloved Fathers and Faithful of this God Protected Archdiocese

As we draw closer to the feast that changed the path of history, the feast of the Nativity of Christ our Lord in the flesh, let us joyfully offer glory to the triune God, welcoming the newborn babe, chanting together: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men". (Luke 2:14)

We live in a darkened world, and at the same time we hear the joyful angelic hymn calling for the coming of peace on earth; Yet, our world is filled with sadness and troubles. What needs to be done? The issue is in the hands of mankind: either people will glorify God with the angels, singing with peace and joy, or they will turn to darkness and the void.

Adam was the cause of this rebellion of human nature against God. By it, the image of God in humans was disfigured and broken. We now suffer from this brokenness, living in a kind of inhuman condition. All countries and societies go through a period of fierce rivalry and a refusal to accept the other. The presence of Christ, however, remains the guarantor and source of true peace. The peace of the world is the truce between wars, but the peace of Christ is different; it enters into the deep heart of man and by it one attains by His grace a peaceful heart. This is realised in the mystery of the Incarnation, whereby Christ unites Himself with us, and we are united to each other. In this way true peace prevails.

My dearly beloved: our world can drive us away from living in Christ, so that we may not live in His love, peace, and holiness. The Nativity of Christ is reflected in our lives when we live in sanctity, spreading His holiness in the world.

I pray to Our Lord for our homes, countries and the whole world that all may have a blessed feast. May the Nativity of Christ be realised in our hearts so that we live by His example through works of love, peace and joy and that we may shine by His grace in our societies, countries and the world.

Christ is born! Let us glorify Him in our lives and in our works.

Balamand 10/12/2015

Archbishop Silouan

Metropolitan of the British Isles and Ireland