Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, my brethren, He is born of the Virgin Mary, who in His hand holds the whole of creation. The holy hymn-writer reminds us that the chapter of our salvation is unique and repetitive, using the term “today.” That is, a present-tense since the historical event of the Nativity of Christ does not disappear in the distant past, but is experienced in the Church as always-present grace and is revived in the life of every believer. Thus, it becomes a vital event that seals and transforms our lives. The Church invites us all to become eyewitnesses of the Birth of the Savior, which took place “during the time of King Herod” (Mt 2: 1).
This grace and the highest honor that was given to us are not only a spiritual privilege, but also a reminder that we must be renewed in the supernatural event of the Divine Incarnation and offer to our Creator our whole existence.Realizing the greatness of God’s extreme condescension to all of us, we must also acknowledge that the modern way of life and the dizzying speeds we live in often paralyze our spiritual powers. Modern life, ignoring God, therefore ignores man as well. That is why many self-appointed “saviors” take advantage of the spiritual weakness of modern man, and promise a new life and a new paradise without Christ!
Thus, man often proves to be poor in his wealth and weak in his supposed power. After all, this reminds us of the difficult situation that humanity has been in for the last two years, as it is plagued by the Covid-19 pandemic, which confirms to all of us every day how small and weak we are in the face of a deadly virus.
Our Church, feeling again the sorrows, trials, and sufferings of modern man, addresses to all without exception the optimism of the Gospel, the invitation of the Incarnate Word. [Italics ours.]
Inviting all of you to experience together again this year the miracle of the Nativity, with humility and heartbreak, let us glorify with one mouth and with one heart the name of Jesus Christ.
I wholeheartedly wish you a prosperous and spiritually fruitful New Year!
✠ Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia
Source: Orthodox Times
Metropolitan Cleopas (Strongylis) was elected as ruling hierarch of the Metropolis of Sweden and All Scandinavia of the Ecumenical Patriarchate in May 2014. He holds a PhD (1994) from the University of Thessaloniki, and is best known for his work on St. Nectarios of Pentapolis. He was born in Athens on August 20, 1966.