BISHOP OF CORFU, MR. NEKTARIOS: “In a time of tyranny, the newly- born Christ is our hope”
In his Christmas Message, his Eminence, the BIshop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios mentions the following:
“The coming of our Lord, Jesus Christ to this World was for the Humanity the surprise that changed everything that people thought while expecting the Messiah. Christ was born in a time of globalization. People were speaking one language, Greek. They followed the idolatry and its customs, while worshipping fake gods. Their currency was common and had the head of the Roman emperor on it. The commercial and marine ways were controlled by the Roman authorities and brought people together. However, sin was everywhere. The value of humans was non-existent. Exploitation was dominant. Death seemed unbeatable. Freedom was a dream.
No wonder Jews and Greeks, being subjugated to the dominance of the globalized roman authority, expected a strong Messiah, someone who would set them free and satisfy their material need, while giving them the opportunity of moving forward without chains, even if they had to fight for it and die. But mostly, Jews wanted a Messiah who would make them kings, since they had misunderstood God’s promise to Abraham. Therefore, both Jews and idolaters could not accept the Son of God as God-human, who came to Earth to bring another kind of freedom, the one which would free people from evil and death. Thus, our Lord was “a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles” along with the educated Greeks (1 Corin. 1,23).
Our Lord is “the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God” (Ephesians 3, 8-9) His kingdom is not of this world. (John 18,36). He came to restore human being to the image of God with unique value. He came to give us a new language, this love. He came to set us free from the tyranny of need for survival and glory, asking us to trust God’s providence. He came to show that sin was leading to spiritual death and that anyone who trusted Him would take the consequence of a society of sanctity, the transcendence of death. He came to show us that the earthly kings eventually divide humans into friends and enemies, they do not liberate all but only those who are obedient, and that they have a time limit. His kingdom, however, embraces everyone and saves those who are free to choose to follow Him in the life of the church.
Humans, with Christ, come close to their fellow people, not by asking but by offering. Not by exploiting, but by recognising their fellow people as brothers and sisters. Not by divinizing their desires, but by being nourished by God’s word and grace. As a result, our life acquires another meaning!
We again accept the humanized Son and Word of God, in an age of new globalization, which we all know and have seen. Today we have a new tyranny: the deceitfulness of the material things, the pleasures, the access to information on the Internet, the advancement of science and technology give us pleasure. Today, however, we are once again delivered to evil. The great problems of mankind, the wars, the illegal immigration, the sick, the destruction of the natural environment, the exploitation of human beings, especially the young child, were quickly solved by the world. A new kingdom of spiritual darkness is spread, with its aspects of loneliness, atheism, self-centeredness, indifference, fear, sin, love for pleasure and one’s self along with ambition ruling us without our knowledge.
In this time, let’s place our faith to our newly born Lord! Let Him rule in our lives and hearts. Let Him teach us His way, which changed the world! Let’s immerse in His inscrutable wealth and let’s commune Him with flesh, incarnated, suffered, buried, resurrected from the dead in every Divine Liturgy, in our fellow people, in hope, what He is!
Merry and blessed Christmas, fellow brothers and sisters! Peace and love in your hearts, your families and your families. Christ is born! Truly, He is born!”