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Orthodox Christmas Address from the Macedonian Archbishop

Orthodox Christian Macedonians around the world are celebrating the birth of Jesus on January 7th. Although Christmas is the second most-important Christian holiday after Easter, the event is marked by joy and in the company of family and friends.

For strict observers of the holiday, Christmas is the last in a series of customs that also include Badnik, or Christmas Eve, and the pre-Christmas fast which lasts 40 days. The Macedonian Orthodox Church advises its adherents that fasting and prayer are a gift of God and that they can help the believer to attain salvation.

Gospodin gospodin Stefan, the Archbishop of the Macedonian Orthodox Church of Ohrid together with the holy synod, addressed believers around the country with the following message:

Today is a day of salvation. The angels and saints in heaven are rejoicing and we, the believers, are celebrating on the earth. The Messiah, whom the prophets named the Son of God, was born into the world. He had come down from the sky adjoined by the singing of angels and was received by the shepherds and celebrated by the wise.

In the memory of his birth and with the mercy of God, we are observing the holiday in prayer, joy, and kind-hearted service that can cause all around us an exceptional spiritual manifestation.

On this day, because of us, God has resolved to help us to liberate ourselves from being slaves to sin and death, so that we may receive life in the truth and joy that no one can take away from us.

Today, the kind-hearted God opened the doors to heaven to humankind, showing the blessed path to holy worship. God, the father, had given his good word to his beloved Son, so that he may teach us how to find peace and how to participate and become one into the Lord’s nature.

The all-knowing God observed men and women’s incapacity of finding salvation on their own, so he sent his Son, the New Adam of humankind, who suffered on the cross in order to renew and return that which had been lost by the infraction caused by the forefather Adam.

Therefore, God’s love for the human is the reason why the entire universe is rejoicing on this day by celebrating the making of peace between God and people. Therefore, the Holy Church is inviting us: “Come to us, Christ-worshipers, let us observe the magnificent miracle that puts to the test everybody’s consciousness, let us celebrate and bow down.”

The Child of God who was born in Bethlehem, who was born into a human body, showed us everything that is of God and everything that is perfect. He came to this world to equip us with a weapon that can not be defeated because within his body is the entirety of everything that is Godly. Therefore, let us open our hearts and souls fully and let us make of them a cave for repentance so that the divine may come to reside within.

The Son of God, arriving in a human body, demonstrated to all that God loves humans and the world. And where else can we find true love if not within God, because God is love. The more we have of it inside u, the closer we become to God, and he can recognize us by that.

Because of this, God advised us: love one another in the same way I loved you. If you follow my commandments, you will be able to stay within my all-providing love.

Saint Maximus the Confessor spoke of God and for the purpose of our holiday on this day. He said: “The word of God, once being received within us, tends to give a spiritual birth to all who love him.”

Humankind has been celebrating Him for 20 centuries. Him who has received our nature and who has resolved to bestow upon us the dignity which we had lost. Therefore, the holy apostle proclaims: “When God has thus given us his Love, then it is our duty to give love to one another.”

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