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By the grace of God Archbishop of Australia
To all the Clergy and devout faithful
Of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese

Brother Concelebrants and beloved children in Christ who is born,

In celebrating once again – as every year – the wondrous Birth of Christ (the God-Man) as the uncreated God’s ‘divine Economy according to the flesh’ for the sake of the human person made in His image, we are obliged to briefly let go of the futile cares and worries of this world.

Only in so doing, could we perhaps be made worthy of taking a deep ‘sigh of relief’ within the peacefulness of the miracle.

This, at any rate, is required by the laws of the miracle: “Let every mortal flesh keep silence” (Cherubic Hymn of Holy Saturday).

It is required by God the Miracle-Worker Himself: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

However, what does it mean to say ‘I have overcome the world’?

Who is it that ‘overcomes the world’?

Once, a very pious Elder of Mount Athos almost ‘protested’ (but like a small child) about this statement of Christ, saying: ‘That’s all very well – You overcame because You are both God and Man! But how am I supposed to overcome, since I am only man?’

This pious perplexity of the Athonite Elder is truly moving, on account of its simplicity.

At the same time, it is most instructive for all of us, being a brave awareness and confession of ‘unworthiness’.

Yet if we ‘passively’ surrender to such perplexity stemming from humility, we could perhaps run the risk of forgetting fundamental teachings of our Faith.

These teachings mainly were ‘sealed’ by the divine Incarnation with all bodily sanctity – the Incarnation which our Orthodox worship speaks about so prayerfully during Christmas.

There are mainly three ‘realities’ that the history of the world has revolved around since the beginning:


In order to appreciate the particular significance of each mentioned reality within the whole ‘Plan of divine Economy’, we need to underline that in each case, the consistent teaching of the Church is one thing, while the ever-changing opinion of the world is another.

The consistent teaching of the Church concerning the human person summarizes, as we know, the major truths of divine Revelation.

The Holy Scriptures in their entirety (both Old and New Testament) describe on the one hand the charismatic features of man, and his mission on the other. They furthermore describe his ultimate destiny in the eternity of God.

All these sacred data (features-mission-destiny) have as their root and unmistakable foundation the pre-eternal Will of God, who created the human person in His “image and likeness” (Gen.1:26).

We can therefore state – without being unrealistic or impious – that it was indeed for the human person that God made the whole Creation (both visible and invisible).

This is precisely why the great Fathers and Teachers of the Church called the divine Incarnation the ‘second Creation’!

Yet, if God did not ‘entrust’ to any of His creatures His own ‘image’, and if He did not ‘demand’ His ‘likeness’ from any other spiritual or rational being, it means that the Incarnation of God the Word opened our eyes to two astonishing truths:

First, that the mystery of the invisible God is directly connected to the mystery of the visible person (whose body never ceases to have sanctity comparable to that of the spirit and the soul). Second, through His Incarnation, God gave the notion of time a redemptive power, transforming it into the ‘opportune time’, an unexpected opportunity.

Consequently, the human Person (anthropos) and the God-Man (theanthropos) are not opposite notions or realities.

They are, strictly speaking, the two radiant extremities of the mystical Axis of the unity between two natures (theandricity).

It is this Axis which permeates the universal human adventure, beneath the star of Bethlehem, which calls all to the “fullness of time” (see Gal.4:4).

To God, who became man for all people, be glory, honour and worship to all.


With fervent prayers in Christ
Archbishop STYLIANOS
Christmas 2007

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