the grace of God Archbishop of Australia
to all the Clergy and devout faithful
of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
Brother Concelebrants and beloved children in Christ who
year, Christmas arrives to find all humanity once again
restless, unsatisfied, and troubled in various ways.
It is therefore no exaggeration to say that people do not
feel safe anywhere today, regardless of
which country or region of the earth they live in.
Nor do they feel content today, even though our
earth has never before known so many and various good things
(in food, health, education,
development and recreation).
Science and technology now enable us all the possibility of
living like small gods! And yet we can no longer
enjoy anything, because it appears that we have not
appreciated anything correctly. We have lost our proper
relationship with nature, with our fellow
human being and, above all, with God.
As a worldwide community, which has now become one
neighbourhood, we have unfortunately become a single
pitiful group who suffer hardships as well as
cause them. As strange as it may sound, nobody can
state with certainty who is essentially more pitiful:
the victimizers or the victims?
Of course we are informed and frustrated about
the unbelievable sufferings in the so-called
undeveloped world (economic devastation,
epidemics involving untreatable diseases, and massive death
tolls through hunger or natural disasters). But the tragedy
does not stop here! Even in countries of economic
abundance and countless luxuries,
perceptive analysts are now recording the alarming
proportions of psychosis and paranoia, such
that the border between happiness and
sadness seems very blurred indeed.
What, then, is to blame for the universal
misfortune of the modern world? How can we find
some balance in our disturbed
It is this precise problem of
relationships that the Feasts of the 12
Days of Christmas seek to address in terms of
salvation. For they interpret and
proclaim the astonishing truth of the Birth of
God. And, by extension, the final Re-birth of the
The hymns of Christmas - which are poetic forms of
theology written by the greatest hymnographers of the
Christian world assist us to enjoy the
Mystery of the Birth of God which, amidst the
uncertainty of our mortal life, truly sounds like a
Perhaps we cannot easily imagine just how
paradoxical and unbelievable are the
messages contained in the awe-inspiring melody which
informs both believers and non-believers each year that
CHRIST IS BORN!
However, if we carefully consider that brief
confession in the form of a doxology, we will have
already prepared our souls to see all things in a
totally different light. To see, in other words, as
completely changed the world that has
tired us. The world that has angered us. The
world that has terrorized us.
When we chant CHRIST IS BORN, we are confessing
one Birth which radically changed the history of the
world. A Birth which has united the Earth to the Heavens
For it was not a birth like all others,
which begin and finish in time. If that were
the case, we would simply say Christ was
born. But we instead say HE IS BORN! This
Mystery without boundaries!
The embrace of God, which was opened in
Bethlehem through the pure and Ever-Virgin Mary, had, and
still has, the pre-eternal purpose of
sheltering and transfiguring
every person who comes into the world.
Orthodoxy, remaining faithful to the doctrines and
teachings of the Ecumenical Councils, did not accept
to monopolize God Incarnate for only one
people. For one place. For only one
However, in order for all people and all
cultures to fit into the boundless Love
of the One God, we must all share all goods of
this world (be they material, educational or
spiritual) like the pieces of
Antidoron. And the
Antidoron (literally meaning instead
of the Holy Gifts, which we receive in the
Eucharist) invites all people into a family
relationship with common gratitude.
Only in this way will the paradoxical Birth of
God be continued within each mortal
person. That Birth which determines the rebirth of
the human person!
This is at least the official teaching of the Church
concerning God Incarnate. Moreover, this is how the
greatest Mystics from among the Church Fathers
formulated the teaching.
St Maximos the Confessor characteristically said that,
according to the example of the Mother of God
(Theotokos), every faithful person whether man
or woman should apply their own personal
humility and obedience in order to
bear God the Word in the flesh, thereby becoming
a bearer of Christ (Christotokos and
We could not convey a brighter or more comforting
message today to our inconsolable world, than
this most sacred faith, prayer and
expectation of becoming God-like by
To the God of Love, who came as an infant for all people, be
glory and worship to the ages!
With fervent prayers to God
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in