THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
TO HER SPIRITUAL CHILDREN AT CHRISTMAS 2012
+ I R I N E J
BY THE GRACE OF GOD ARCHBISHOP OF PEC, METROPOLITAN OF BELGRADE KARLOVCI AND SERBIAN PATRIARCH, WITH ALL THE HIERARCHS OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TO ALL THE CLERGY, MONASTRICS,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!
"Rejoice O ye righteous, rejoice O heaven, dance O mountains for Christ is born…”
(Hymn from the Nativity of our Lord Matins, tone four)
The Nativity of our Lord brings to us joyous and wonderful news that the Son of God became Man, the God-Man Jesus Christ. With His Incarnation, the prophesy of Saint Isaiah the prophet has been fulfilled: “Lo, the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Emanuel, which is translated: “God is with us”. (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah 7:14) From that day until the end of the age, God is with us and we belong to Him. The Son of God has descended to earth, and man has ascended to heaven. Everything has been united. Angels sing with men and men participate in the angelic life. Saint John Chrysostom called Christmas the mother of all feasts, and contemplating the Birth of God in awe as a wondrous mystery, he glorifies it by saying: “I look upon an astounding mystery. Shepherds’ voices I hear in my ears. Angels and archangels sing, seraphim glorify, they all participate in the Feast, looking upon God on earth, and upon man in heaven. They look upon God, Who is in heaven, as upon Him Who is the Cause of His own descent to earth. They look upon man, who is on earth, and see how through God’s love for mankind he dwells in heaven.” God without body puts on flesh; the Invisible becomes visible, He Who is unapproachable becomes approachable, the Timeless one receives a beginning, the Son of God becomes the Son of man. This manifestation of God in our world and our life is the beginning of our own entrance into God’s world. And so, the meaning of Christmas is in the reality that God came to people so that they may come closer to Him.
His Holiness Irinej will read Christmas Enclytical of the Serbian Orthodox Church on Friday, January 4th, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade.
We call representatives of media to attend this event. Please send accreditations on firstname.lastname@example.org no later than January 3rd, 2013 until 12 a.m.
of the Serbian Orthodox Church
''We swear you by Almighty God that in no way should you detract from the worth, greatness and importance of our reconciliation. Let not one empty and unverified word pass over your mouths. Let our reconciliation be an example for all the other Serbs, wherever they may live. Do not allow any one of us by our actions to hinder this common sanctity. Our reconciliation has just begun. We have planted a young seedling which we need to nurture and cherish as the apple of the eye that it may grow to the pride of all'' (Metropolitan Iriney of New Gracanica - 19 February 1993).
During the past few weeks there appear a multitude of unverified, inaccurate and often malicious articles published on the internet related to the litigation in which the Serbian Orthodox Church is attempting to return to her fold the now usurped New Kalenich Monastery in Canberra.
In light of the same, the Metropolitan Executive Board of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand of the Serbian Orthodox Church desires to emphasise the following:
Philanthropy, The Charitable Foundation of the Serbian Orthodox Church organized a conference “Social Protection in Rural Areas – Possibilities and Challenges” on 13 December 2012, the day of Saint Andrew the First called Apostle. The Conference was organized in the St. Sava Hall in Nis, with the blessing of His Grace Bishop Jovan of Nis. The conference was attended by number of prominent participants, representatives of local authorities and social welfare institutions from whole Serbia, as well as respective representatives of civil society active in the area of providing social services to the most vulnerable rural population.
The Permanent Committee on Consensus and Collaboration (PCCC), an elected body of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), was hosted by His Eminence Metropolitan Dr Vassilios of Constantia-Ammochostos of the Church of Cyprus from 4-6 November 2012 in Paralimni, Cyprus. His Eminence is the chair of the Faith and Order Commission of the WCC.
The President of Serbia Mr. Tomislav Nikolic received yesterday on August 14, 2012 the representatives of the Archbishopric of Ohrid, Their Graces Bishops Marko of Bregalnica and David of Stobi, the member of the Holy Synod of Bishops of the Serbian Orthodox Church Bishop Irinej of Backa and Bishop Porfirije of Jegar. Bishops of the Archbishopric of Ohrid told the problems of their Church, facts on the unjust imprisonment of Archbishop Jovan of Ohrid and about the vulnerability of human rights and religious freedoms of bishops, priests, monks and believers of the Archbishopric of Ohrid. President Nikolic assured his guests that he would actively advocate for full respect for human rights and religious freedoms, not only for the faithful of the Serbian Orthodox Church, but for all people, all nations and all communities in Serbia, in the region and the world.