GERMAN DIOCESE: January 14, 2020
Nativity Epistle of Metropolitan Mark of Berlin and Germany
Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will to men.
Where is the peace, where is the good will, where is the glory?
Two thousand years have passed since the angelic glad tidings! And what do we witness on Earth? There is no peace, only discord, wars, the murder of the unborn, internecine strife, terrorism, hatred and anger. This is not only in lay society, no; even in the Church we see division between so-called Christians who appear to glorify one and the same God! The rift between Constantinople and the Russian Church, while there are tremors in Greece and Alexandria. Ukraine is suffering, America reigns supreme… The garment of Christ is being rent. Our hearts break when political games obscure Divine truth, sycophancy overtakes the effort to please God… How are we to believe the glad tidings of the angels, words from Holy Scripture?
All this is occurring because our society is in its essence not Divine-human, but demonic-human. It forgets God, rejecting the Sole Source of Life, and Peace, and Love, and Justice and Truth.
We recall the words of the Psalmist: “For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.” And then his lament: “Help us, O God of our salvation! Help us for the honor of your name!”
Does this cry resound in our hearts? Can we deem ourselves the lawful heirs of the true people of God? Does the pure faith, firm hope in God live within us? Are indomitable within us love for God and neighbor, devotion to the commandments of God—all of them without exception?
”He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me,” said our Lord Jesus Christ to His disciples in their final conversation. And “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you!”
The first words with which Christ greets the Apostles after His death on the Cross and His Resurrection were the same: “Peace be unto you.” And before sending His Apostles into this world, He commanded them to bring peace to every city and every house.
And even now the Lord does not deprive us of His peace! He is prepared to give true peace to any person who desires to receive Him into his soul. Therefore, if we are to be true children of Christ, His peace cannot be taken away from us—not from us, not from anyone. The Lord is always prepared, through peace-loving Christians, to disseminate His peace into the external world, thereby driving all conflict form the world.
Yet this world is overfilled with people who do not desire to submit to the Sole Giver of Peace. Even worse: many dare approach Christ, confessing peace and love in word, while in action they remain far from Divine Truth.
In our day we see even those who, adorning themselves with the name of Christ, support the enemies of the Lord in the battle against His Holy Church.
How are we to respond?
To obtain true peace in our souls, striving to be true children of Christ, not in word, but in deed: through works of Truth, works of Love, and peace in our souls, filled with love for Christ and neighbor. This is the path to peace on Earth, here lies the key to good will to men: The human soul finds peace only when it gives itself completely over to the Lord Christ, devoting itself with faith, love, hope, prayer, fasting, humility and meekness (St Justin of Celije).
Born in Bethlehem, the Lord Christ showed us this path to Truth. And so we today, on this bright holiday of the Nativity, can boldly receive inner peace from His most-pure hands, and then, holding fast to His Truth, pass it to the external world in which we live.
Metropolitan of Berlin and Germany