His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia’s Prayer on Nativity for the Coming Year

For the first time, we are seeing His Holiness Ilia’s Nativity Epistle for this year, which is not only profound Orthodox teaching but a powerful prayer for all. Before the end of Christmastide, we would like to present it to our readers.

Most Eminent Hierarchs, Reverend Fathers, Deacons, Monks and Nuns, Authorities of our Government, members of the Holy Orthodox Church of Georgia, Residents of Iberia and our compatriots who are now living in the countries beyond our land.

I address to you Georgians, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Greeks, Ukrainians, Russians, Armenians, Jews, Azerbaijanis, Udins, Yazidis, Kurds, Ingush, Cherkezians, Chechens, Lezgins and people of all nationalities:

The hour of the mystery of God’s Great Incarnation has come. Today, the Creator has been born, the Creator “by Whom all has been created: the earthly and the heavenly; the visible and the invisible, Thrones and Dominions, Powers and Principalities,” this is the Day of the birth of the One “to whom and by Whom all was brought to life”.

Therefore, we believers aspire to reach with our minds and gaze into Bethlehem in order to feel with our senses the greatest of hours, which came into the Universe 2000 years ago. It was the hour when in the Promised Land, in one cold and dark cave, which was void of every worldly honor, was fulfilled the mystery equal to which nothing had happened in the Universe, and neither will ever again take place in it. The ineffable, unfathomable, unapproachable God was incarnated and the objective of this mystery was the deification of man; in the bosom of the people of the True Lord, in the lineage of Saint King David, the Son of God was born for it was the will of the Inscrutable Light to eternally be with us. The Immortal accepted to become mortal; the Incorruptible assumed corruptibility in order to free us the mortal and corruptible beings from the bonds of death.  

Today, we all, who are faithful believers, are messengers of the good tidings of the Nativity of Christ for God is with us! Henceforth, we, who are in constant search for Him, become sharers of the fullness of His graces and receive it in abundance gifts of God-pleasing service to Him, and therefore we beseech the visible and invisible worlds:

O Heavens and Earth! Rejoice and bless the Creator, for God is with us!

O Angels and all living beings! Rejoice and bless the Lord of lords, for God is with us!

O Kings and Patriarchs, Peoples and Races! Rejoice and bless the New Adam; bless every deed of the Lord, sing and magnify Him onto the ages of ages, for God is with us!

If not for Your miraculous birth, mankind would not have an example of the most eminent Love and Peacemaker, of the True King, Spiritual Father and Teacher, Paragon of ultimate humility and sacrifice, devotion and friendship, image of the Heavenly love of the Father and the Son.

We, people obsessed with pride and self-conceit, would have never been able to find our true selves, would never have cast off our egocentrism and neither would we ever part with it.  

O Jesus, You taught us that salvation is only attainable through love; that loftiness is hidden in humility; greatness is manifested in simplicity and modesty; the love for the neighbor is the way that leads to joy. You taught us that by giving one obtains and through patience one wins; the fullness of love is in the love for the enemy and by giving one’s life for another, one finds his own soul…

O Saviour, for Your Incarnation the Earth also made ready itself and dedicated to You the loftiest adornment of virgins, the hope of every mother – Holy Mary.

Rejoice, O Most Eminent among the chosen, hope of all peoples;

Rejoice, O Mother of God, who has dried the tears of Eve’s eyes; O Tree of life who has given us the Fruit of Life;

Rejoice, Living Temple of God, who presents our prayers to Our Lord.

By the Lord’s Providence and through your care we became God’s nation, too. This little flock throughout centuries had to endure many adversities and by your protection, we got over many misfortunes, always remaining devout to Christ. Today also, our exhausted people, betrayed and crucified many a time, cherish hope on you for this is a nation of unfaltering faithful; these people have placed their hope on God.

We, your servants, together with them, implore you, the Queen of the Heaven and the Earth: Do not abandon us in our weaknesses but intercede to your Son and our God that all the residents of Iberia, our sinful sons and daughters get on the path of the Truth. Soften and calm the hearts of those who harbor evil toward us, those who envy us and those who trouble us. Fill the hearts of wrongdoers with repentance; gladden prisoners with freedom; make the unjust turn to justice; give bread to those who are hungry; give clothes to those who lack them and sustenance to the poor; give the good laborers their due wages.

O Most Pure Mother of God, bearer of many sorrows, give succor to those who weep, direct the lives of those, who patiently and with gratitude to God endure troubles, onto the path of goodness. O Mother of God, encourage the young and children and edify them in lofty spirituality; heal the infirm and fill the hearts of the old with joy over the prosperity of their offspring. O Mother, return to their motherland our compatriots living beyond Georgia and grant those, who continue their stay in foreign lands, strength to magnify God with their work and to labour for the benefit of their Motherland. Make steadfast our love, hope and piety toward the Lord, grant us to serve with all our devotion to the Church, Motherland and neighbour. Cleanse our hearts and purify our souls, enlighten our minds and endow us with the depth of cognition, bodily health and keep us out of harm’s way. Save us from killing of unborn children and suicides.

O Holy Mother of God, restore, bless and confirm the borders of Georgia and protect the people living in this land from “hunger, annihilation, earthquakes, fire, spear and onslaughts of enemies”, protect them from harmful rages of earthly elements and from every deception which comes from evil forces. Bless and strengthen our families and grant them to be families of many children and fill them with the abundance of the fruits of their work. We plead with you, intercede for our ancestors who passed away in the Orthodox faith, Kings and Queens, Catholicos-Patriarchs, your faithful servants and all who have remained without commemoration. I entreat you, look down on everyone who asks us for support, so that the Creator might receive them also in the abodes prepared for the righteous in His Kingdom.

Neither abandon us, O Mother, in the hour of the Second Coming of your Son, and intercede for us, hopers on you before him, so that we rejoice together with the righteous and magnify our Creator, Who receives everyone with infinite love, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, onto the ages of ages, Amen.

O Christ God, born at Bethlehem this magnificent night! With all our souls and minds, we yield toward You and light up lamps of our prayers, supplications to magnify you. In the stead of the gold, frankincense and myrrh, we present to You our hearts, love and fidelity as our gifts. We come out to meet you and with reverence bow our knee to You:

Glory to You, Infant Prince of Peace!

Glory to Your Decent, O Lord of Sabaoth!

Glory to You, O Lord Adonai!

We bless and magnify You onto the ages of ages and we bless Your bearer, the blessed among the mothers. Once again, we implore You, imbue with Your peace and grant Your mercy to the stormy world plunged in unbelief; give us a sense of seeing a difference between evil and good, and make us residents of Your Kingdom.

“Christ is being born,glorify Him! Christ is being descended from Heaven – come out to meet Him! Christ descended upon the world – rise… the darkness will again be vanquished, the Light will return… the old world will pass, and behold, all will be renewed”, Rejoice, for God is with us!

His Holiness Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II

Source | Photo: Orthochristian.com