Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Divine Services of the Holy Church testify that “Bethlehem has opened Eden: come let us see! We have found joy in a secret place: come, let us seize Paradise hidden in the cave! There the unwatered Root has appeared, blossoming with forgiveness. There is found the undug Well, from which David longed to drink of old. There the Virgin has borne a child, quenching Adam's and David's thirst. Let us hurry to this place, where the Eternal God was born as a little child!”
Adam of old, before his fall and expulsion from Paradise, knew no sickness, nor sorrow, nor sighing. He was being sweetened not only by the delights of that wonderful, holy place, but moreover he delighted in sweet conversation with God, he shared a union with the “Gentle Light of the Holy Glory.” Having lost this light and existing as a fallen man in a fallen world, he had a deep yearning to return to that former beauty. The Divine Services call it a thirst. And this thirst was quenched by the “Eternal God [Who] was born as a little Child.”
If Adam had brought upon himself fallen nature, David who had come many generations later had inherited it. Within the depths of his soul David had the same yearning, longing, thirst that so needed quenching as our forefather Adam did. David stretched himself beyond human limits and heights of repentance and knowledge of God that few could ever hope to equal. Yet, the yearning of this prophet of God could not be satisfied by anything earthly or even heavenly as he thirsted for the Creator Himself. And God the Word without beginning and outside of time, entered into this created world through the Ever-Virgin. The Son of God born in a cave of the earth is that unwatered Root that blossomed forth forgiveness, the undug Well that quenches the deepest of thirsts...
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons,
Monastics and All the Faithful Children
of the Russian Orthodox Church
Beloved in the Lord archpastors, all-honourable
presbyters and deacons, God-loving monks
and nuns, dear brothers and sisters,
Today, as the Heavenly and earthly Church in conciliar unity glorifies God Incarnate, I extend my heartfelt greetings to all of you on the great and radiant feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Eminent Fellow Archpastors, Honorable Fathers, Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
Greetings with the Nativity of Christ!
In these days of great joy, the thoughts of the archpastors, pastors, monastics, parishioners, and faithful of the churches and monasteries of our dioceses, scattered like God’s wheat over the vast earth, meet in the meek Bethlehem cave, in the semi-darkness in which was lit the unquenchable Light of the world — our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God! Spiritually gathering with all of you in the modest cave near Bethlehem, and kneeling down before the poor manger of the Divine Infant and His Most Pure Mother, I join my prayers to yours and implore God the Word incarnate to grant His Church grace-filled mercies and blessed success in Her ministry, and to all Orthodox peoples speedy deliverance from fratricidal war, restoration of justice and peace, that peace of which the angelic choir sang over the city of David on that holy night of the Nativity!
As the Biblical book, “The Wisdom of Sirach” narrates: