BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery.
My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.
Bethlehem this day resembles heaven; hearing from the stars the singing of angelic voices; and in place of the sun, enfolds within itself on every side, the Sun of justice. And ask not how: for where God wills, the order of nature yields. For He willed; He had the power; He descended; He redeemed; all things yielded in obedience to God. This day He Who is, is Born; and He Who is, becomes what He was not. For when He was God, He became man; yet not departing from the Godhead that is His. Nor yet by any loss of divinity became He man, nor through increase became He God from man; but being the Word He became flesh, His nature, because of impassability, remaining unchanged.
In the evening of Christmas Eve a log cut from a tree, the Yule log (badnjak), is placed on the fire. This young tree, usually oak, symbolizes Christ and his entry into the world. Burning of the Yule log presents the warmth of Christ's love. Then, Christmas Eve is a reminder of the tree that the shepherds brought into the cave and which the righteous Joseph burn to warm the just born God-child in the cold cave.
BY THE GRACE OF GOD
BISHOP OF THE METROPOLITANATE OF
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
GOD’S PEACE — CHRIST IS BORN!
The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2014
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
Peace from God! Christ is Born!
“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory. ”
(I Tim. 3:16)
We are celebrating once again in this year of the Lord, brothers and sisters, the day of Christ’s Nativity, the day on which God descended to earth, the day on which the Only-begotten Son of God became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary in order to grant us, mortal and transitory people, eternal life.
The Nativity of our Lord is the day on which God became man, so that men could become gods by grace; the Lord’s Nativity is the day of the revelation of the eternal truth about God, man and the world; the Nativity is the day on which heaven was united with earth; the day on which the eternal light of the knowledge of God shown forth; the Nativity is the day on which mankind is reconciled with God and people recognize that they are children of God – that all people are and will eternally be brothers, called to mutual love, reconciliation and forgiveness.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej awarded Dr. Smilja Avramov and Mr. Radomir Naumov with the high dinstinctions of the Serbian Orthodox Church - the order of Saint Sava of the Second Degree at the solemn reception at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on 29 December 2014.
The solemn award ceremony was attended by the members of the Holy Synod of Bishops: His Eminence Metropolitan Amfilohije of Montenegro and the Littoral, Their Graces Bishops Lavrentije of Shabac, Hrizostom of Zvornik-Tuzla and Teodosije of Rasko-Prizrenski, as well as protopresbyter Dr. Savo Jovic, chief secretary of the Holy Synod.
His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irenaeus received Dr. Mladen Ivanic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade on 24 December 2014.
The audience was also attended by Dr. Ranko Skrbich, Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Mrs. Natasha Zirojevich, Chief of the cabinet of the Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.