Christmas Message from Metropolitan Benjamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus

“Beloved archpastors, pastors, monastics and all faithful children of the Belarusian Orthodox Church!

Once again, we listen with trepidation to the angelic words announcing the greatest event in the history of mankind: “Today, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11).

Each of us today is witnessing the fulfillment of ancient prophecies about the salvation of man and, together with St. Gregory the Theologian, comprehends the mystery of the coming of the Savior into the world: “The Incorporeal incarnates… The Invisible becomes visible, the Intangible becomes tangible, the Timeless receives a beginning. The Son of God becomes the Son of Man.”

God’s love for mankind is so great that He not only sent prophets and judges to them, through whom He taught the commandments, but gave “His only-begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Therefore, the words unheard of before by the world, proclaimed by the Apostle John the Theologian: “God is love” is not the product of theological thought. They are witnessed by the Savior’s birth, His earthly life and public ministry, His preaching and miracles, Death on the Cross and Resurrection.

That is why our hearts are filled today with such indescribable joy and spiritual exultation. The Son of God entered our world and united Himself with man forever and ever, becoming like us in everything except sin, giving the joy of eternal life, the fullness of being with God: “Bound Adam be resolved, freedom is granted to all the faithful, with swaddling clothes, the Savior, who is hovering over you” (Prefeast. Canon). And, according to the words of St. Hilarion of Kyiv, humanity is no longer crowded in the bonds of the law, “But in Grace he walks freely.”

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Luke 2:14), — for more than two thousand years these angelic words have sounded both as a promise and as a call. A call to build the Kingdom of Heaven in your soul, to keep peace and love between people. Sometimes it seems to us that little depends on us, that everything in our history is decided by the “powerful ones”. But the Lord was not born in the royal halls, but in a simple cave, was laid in a manger for cattle and thereby showed that “God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).

Concerns about daily bread, well-being and the public good – all this is undoubtedly important and requires our participation while we live on earth. But this is not the basis of the true life of man. No matter how much people try to resolve social contradictions and build a harmonious society, efforts will not bear good fruit until there is peace in the human soul.

And this peace is achieved by fighting sin and untruth in your heart, doing good deeds and showing mercy to your neighbors. This is the source of good changes in all areas of human existence, and the Lord, through the apostle, calls us: “Most of all, put on love, which is the perfection of perfections.” (Col. 3:14).

Therefore, everyday and constant good deeds are so important, even if they do not seem to us something significant and great.

They are what draws God’s grace to our land and our people, and creates a solid foundation for family, social and personal life.

Bearing this in mind, let us fill our lives with gratitude to God, joy over His great blessings and deeds of mercy, and under no circumstances will we lose heart and grieve. Let us be a source of a peaceful and godly spirit to all those around us.

Dear brothers and sisters! Congratulating you all on the great feast of the Nativity of Christ and the New Year, I prayerfully wish that your hearts be filled with bright joy about the Born Lord, that peace and harmony be in every home, family, throughout our Fatherland and beyond. Good health to you, God’s help in all your labors, and may every day of your life be illuminated by the light of the Star of Bethlehem.

Metropolitan Veniamin of Minsk and Zaslavl, Patriarchal Exarch of All Belarus.

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