Most Reverend Bishops, Honorable Fathers, Brothers and Sisters!
There is no past in the spiritual world. All that issues from God into this world is made manifest forever, just like the soul of man, having been born exists for eternity. “Once and for all time” is the mark of all that is created by God and which originates from God. Once and for all time the Incarnation took place so that the soul of man would unite once and for all time with Christ.
The Nativity of Christ on earth occurs constantly, daily and even hourly for those who accept Christ for the first time. Once having become a Christian, a person then leads a life in Christ, given to him by God. Only a Nativity of Christ in the manger of our own hearts can have a genuine and effective meaning for each of us. “Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6) That is, it is not possible to be born spiritually without a Baptism in Christ. The Lord was born on this earth so that we may be born, therefore we must celebrate the Nativity of Christ as our own date of birth.
The past year has brought us much comfort. We may state with even more conviction that the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad has not ceased its earthly existence and continues to bear witness to Christ in our homeland as well as outside of its boundaries. Our strengthening and modest movement forward attests to that. Now we need to affirm our course which was set down originally across the stormy seas of life by the entirety of the church, headed by our First Hierarchs. On this course we must in great measure be wary of attempts on one hand to “improve” the ROCA, as well as the temptation on the other hand to “preserve” it inordinately. The life of the Church on earth is one of a living process of clashes and battles between various opinions, which are resolved conciliarly and then this conciliar determination is obeyed by all. So was it always in the history of the Church and so it will be until the end of time, the glory of the oneness of the Church through its many members. This is also one of the intrinsic aspects of our growth in Christ.
May we always be with the Lord from His miraculous Nativity to His death on the Cross and His Holy Resurrection!
I greet all of the faithful members of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad on the feast of the Nativity of Christ!
Nativity of Christ, Odessa, 2010