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Christmas Greetings from Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga

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Christmas Greetings from Metropolitan Varsonofy of St. Petersburg and Ladoga

The Russian Orthodox Church continues celebrating the Nativity of Christ during Christmastide, which lasts from Christmas Day on January 7 till the Holy Epiphany on January 19.

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Dear fathers, brothers and sisters, dear St. Petersburg people, dear TV viewers, with a great spiritual joy I extend my greetings to you on the great feast of the Nativity of Christ.

The angel of Lord that appeared before the shepherds of Bethlehem who herded their sheep on the night of the Nativity told them of the joy of this feast. He said, ‘I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord’.

Christmas is indeed a great, joyous and wonderful feast. On this night, the joy of salvation of the mankind came to the sinful earth, and the earth felt the fullness of human life and internal peace. And now, every person can share in this joy.

This joy is neither fleeting, not temporary. It is born here, on earth, and accompanies those who rejoice in it into the life everlasting. Any sinner can have this joy, if he abandons and repents his sins, and amends his life, if he remembers about death, and what expects him after death. Anyone who believes in God, prays to Him, serves Him, obeys His commandments, and makes effort to live according to His will, can have this joy.

The Lord is the source of joy. So we ought to look for the spring of this joy. Where do we find it? Of course, we find it when we come to church, when we pray, when we take Communion, when we confess, when we live our life in accordance with God’s commandments.

This joy grows when we read the Word of God, the works and homilies of the Church Fathers, who had joy in the Lord through their prayer. And, of course, joy comes to us through good deeds, especially, if we do them for the glory of God. Then, one grows full of this spiritual joy.

That is why, on this great feast, I wish you, my dear, spiritual joy. Let the Nativity of Christ bring this eternal spiritual joy to all of us. This joy will help us endure all the sorrows.

On these Christmas days, we will hear the words ‘God is with us’. God is with us, and why should we worry. Yes, there are sorrows on earth, there problems on earth. But we can overcome them with this spiritual joy. The Lord Himself said, ‘In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’.

That is why we ought to calmly bear everything that the Lord lets happen to us. It is this spiritual joy that we draw strength from. It is above all sorrows, illness and grief. So let the Nativity of Christ that we celebrate bring us this joy. And let us keep this joy in our hearts as long as we can.

I wish all of you God’s graces from Christ the Saviour that has been born. And let the new year 2020 be a year of peace and well-being for our country and for all of us. Best wishes to you on Christmas!

Photo: St. Petersburg TV channel

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