Nativity Epistle of Archbishop Vladimir

Beloved of Christ, fathers brothers and sisters!

From my whole heart I congratulate you with the Nativity of Christ!

Our Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, born before the ages, for our sake comes to earthand is incarnate of the Virgin Mary and Holy Spirit, the God-man.

The old Testament fathers, by the Grace of the Holy Spirit, spoke not only of the earthly life of Christ but of the place of His Birth.

The holy prophet Isaiah speaks with such clarity of the Savior that the Church refers to him as the old testament apostle, prefiguring the words of the forerunner, prepare ye the path of the Lord; and how the God-man would be born of a Virgin. 700 years in advance, he foretold: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

The holy prophet Micah a contemporary of Isaiah also prophesied: But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

Our Savior appeared to us in complete humility as a small child, not in power and grandeur. He appeared in the most humble cave where animals were hearded against the cold night.

Born and wrapped in swaddling clothes, He was laid in a manger, a structure prepared to hold feed for the livestock. Here this manger held the creator of the world.    

Our Lord showed us in this humility, in this meekness, the path that he would have us follow. By demonstrating to endure and to accept need and suffering.

In these holy days let us gaze frequently at the Nativity icon and learn these lessons. Before the icon let us recall how at the very birth of our Savior all the sins of mankind lay on him. Let us recall how the Creator took the image of a servant in order to allow us the blessedness of His Kingdom.  Let us meet this feast with great joy.

Let us come and sing a song unto the Lord, that as in the old testament we may be enlightened and obedient to our faith and not fall to as the apostle Paul writes: And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess). To whom is due all honor glory and worship now and ever and unto the ages, Amen 

+Archbishop Vladimir

Nativity 2013