Nativity Epistle: Bp Stefan of Trenton


December 25, 2010/January 7, 2011

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)

Throughout all the millennia of the world’s existence, never has there been such a monumental event which could compare in magnitude to the incarnation of Our Lord and Savior. The righteous of old testament times, who believed in the One God, knew through the prophets that the Messiah would come, but it was not revealed to any of them with exactitude when and in which form He would appear. And it came to pass that Our God and Creator Himself, in the hypostasis of the Word of God, having passed through the Virgin womb, appeared in the midst of mankind, exhausted by sin, as a Man, having taken on the image of a servant.

Because of this, man was vouchsafed to hear with his own ears the entire Truth proceeding directly from God’s lips. Just as the sun at dawn illuminates the entire universe, so Our Lord Jesus Christ, “the sun of truth, shines upon the world the light of wisdom”. “To this end was I born” the Lord said unto Pilate, “and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.” (John 18:37). Truth is the cornerstone of our faith and our hope.

“Lie not one to another” (Col. 3:9) writes the Apostle Paul regarding our interactions with our neighbors. If in our personal dealings we must live by truth, then even more so we must without compromise preserve truth in matters of the faith and the Church. “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” Who has a pure heart? He who does not deceive or connive. The Lord hearkens unto the prayers of such ones. But those who have disdained God’s truth, and have compromised Divine Truth with their false teachings and concepts, are transgressors of the law! The recent betrayal of our former brethren has visibly shown us where the veiled deception of clergy leads – many souls of these little ones have ended up in the embrace of the servants of Antichrist.

We are all familiar with the words “Hearken unto me, oh Lord in Thy Truth” (Psalm 142). In view of what has happened, we must all pay due attention to these and other such words and be vigilant, distancing ourselves from every deception and connivance. Arriving at the gates of Jerusalem to voluntarily suffer for our salvation, Christ the Lord received the doxology of children who were free of malice and deception. And on this blessed night on which the Infant Christ was born, a multitude of praise-singing Angels appeared to shepherds whose hearts were pure and free of malice and not to the world at large. This in itself speaks volumes!

Let us approach the One“Who must be worshipped in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24), the Infant King of kings lying in a manger, and let us sing unto Him with a pure heart the Angelic hymn “Glory to God in the highest!”
I sincerely greet all of you on the feast of the Nativity of Christ. Through God’s grace may our hearts become the dwelling place of Divine peace of which the heavenly Angels hymned, and may the all-benevolent God grant all of us sinners His grace-filled, spiritual joy.

+Bishop Stefan, of Trenton and North America