Christmas Divine Liturgy in the Holy Metropolis of Corfu
On Tuesday morning, December 25, 2018, the Matin and the Christmas Divine Liturgy took place in the Holy Metropolitan Church of Virgin Mary the Spillaiotissa, with his Eminence, the Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands, Mr. Nektarios.
Instead of preaching, the Christmas message of his Eminence was read as following:
My dear Fathers and fellow brothers, my dearly beloved children,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
Those words of the Angel have brought the first and great message of authentic to the people of all times. They announce the incarnation of the God-human. The greatest and most occult mystery of the providence and plan of the love that cannot be expressed with words and charity of God, according to which “the Word become flesh” (John 1,14). He is perfect human, like us, to everything apart from sin, to render human nature to its prosperous paradise situation before the Fall.
The sublime conception of the God-human makes Him absolutely free from the sin, affecting the fallen nature of humans and the tyranny through the pain. But, as mentioned by Saint Isaac the Syrian: “God does not want people to hurt.” Christ did not come to this world to judge us or to punish us. He came as a toddler in order to take us out of our own infancy. He has taken human flesh in order to save us, to let us free from the power of pain and with the same pain to lead us to joy.
Experiencing pain, sorrow and fear is showing, the absence of joy. For this is the joy, that people crave. In recent years, our country has undergone a period of crisis, that even though it is not the most difficult throughout its history, has deprived people from joy.
Everyone around is sullen, with eyes looking without seeing, minds that instead of thinking, are tired from caring and suffering, bodies so slouchy from the problems, fears and anxiety of the daily life.
The politic and financial conditions with which we have organized our lives and used as basis for our hopes for joy and bliss, have proven to be a source of uncertainty and suffering. The only news we learn, are about murdering and suicide, the disdain of human life and its exploitation with the sickest and most extreme way. Unemployment, poverty, violence in all its forms, alienation, indifference, limitless competition, general commercialization, manipulation, consumption, sickness, loneliness, lack of actual education and most importantly, the exertion of all forms of power through our fear that haunt us and deprive us from joy. The theological thought of Saint Maximos the Confessor explains to us that: we reached this condition of sorrow through our selfish and self-serving strive to acquire pleasure. The dipole of pleasure and pain is the main reason of alternating the moral consciousness since it creates a confused knowledge of good and evil, including our ability to discern and evaluate situations, resulting in our soul drowning.
My dear children,
The assumed sun of justice who willingly incarnated, takes the human pain and transforms it to constant spiritual joy, making the human soul shine. With His miracles, He gave joy to people, resurrected dead, healed sick ones, comforting morally stigmatized, socializing with the socially marginalized, saving the sinful and lastly, choosing to open the paradise a repentant robber.
The newly-born Lord gives us salvation, real joy, relief from the suffering and not the satisfaction of the self-serving, temporary material happiness. However, in order to fully acquire this spiritual fulfilment and inner elation, we must grow up in sorrows, in humiliation, trust in hope, practice of praying in order to reach true love through the love of God.
Our Church, as “Christ’s Body”, continues to fight and raise constantly the meaning of joy, as revealed by Christ with His birth and his whole life and teaching. No social institution can replace Church in this offering. It is the timeless workshop of joy since Christ is its leader, the Incarnated Love of God.
Be happy, because today, God is mixed with human nature, to raise human beings to God’s height.
Merry Christmas, good and blessed!
With paternal wishes and warm in the newly-born Christ love,
YOUR BISHOP OF CORFU, PAXOI AND DIAPONTIAN ISLANDS
By the end of the Divine Liturgy, Mr. Nektarios wished to the faithful, to be enlightened by the newly born Christ in our world. With his incarnation, the Paradise was opened again to the fallen man, giving eternity to the society with the Triune God. This joy given by Christ, no one can take away. Then, the Bishop of Corfu listened to the Christmas Carols by the children of the Catechetical School of the Church.
He also visited the Chronically Suffering People’s Foundation “The Platytera”, where he gave kourabiedes and melomakarona (Greek traditional Christmas sweets), wishing to everyone a happy and blessed Christmas.