The Archbishop of the Macedonian Church, gospodin gospodin Stefan, delivered his traditional pre-Christmas address on January 3 to bid Orthodox Christians a happy new year and to share words of wisdom for times past and future.
Macedonia Times is happy to convey the crucial parts of the Archbishop’s speech in an unofficial English transcript:
Our time is one in which our faith is put to the test. The lives of entire nations, despite all of the achievements, is becoming more difficult and less predictable. We are living in a time of many crises. There is an economic, political, social, educational, health crisis but especially, there is a crisis of morality. There are more and more human tragedies and sufferings. Upon the pedestal are arrogance, severity, insensitivity, pride, envy and hypocrisy.
Love has been furthermore replaced by hate and good has given way to evil.
Why is it so? It is so because we permit less and less of Christ in our lives and we permit ourselves not to do upon others that which we wish others to do upon us. Therefore we cannot understand the purpose of human life nor can we discover the path to salvation. We have become distant from God and from one another. Our separation from God is equal to spiritual death and walking in darkness. It appears that we have forgotten that without Him, without God, we cannot do anything.
The present and the future cannot recreate the past, according to some people’s wishes. They can’t change the past. Only people and nations who have learned from the past can undergo change and can correct themselves so that they don’t repeat the bad. History is a witness that whatever rests upon force and untruth is destined to meet its end. Therefore we, as a Macedonian people, must not depart from ourselves and from our long past, for no one and for nothing.
We must always study and learn. It is very important what kind of education we are going to provide to the current and to the future generations, within the family and in the schools. Only by nurturing moral and family values within the home of the parents and in the schools can we have any hope to last as a country and as a nation. We must not permit any violations of true rights and values and we must not permit the renewal of the God-defeating one-mindedness.
Let the year that is ahead of us be a time of victory against the evil and against the animosities that govern the world. Let this be a time of spiritual abundance, a time that shall see the end of the suffering caused by this vicious disease. Let us wish that this becomes a year of gratitude for health workers whose selflessness we must take as an example.
To our entire people here in the fatherland and around the world, let’s bid us a happy Christmas holiday by extending the joyful salutation: Christ was born!
Let this be merry and blessed by God new year.