MESSAGE OF HIS EMINENCE, BISHOP OF CORFU, PAXOI AND DIAPONTIAN ISLANDS MR. NEKTARIOS
ON THE OCCASION OF CHRISTMAS 2017
My beloved fathers and brothers, my beloved children with Christ’s love,
We as humans are thirsty for our freedom in life.
It is a quality of our nature to desire to choose on our own what we will think about,
what we will do and to which direction we will move. However, while we realise the restrictions that the co-existence with the other people poses on us along with the limits of our own abilities, we feel sad and anxious about life. Whenever, in particular, we face existential difficulties such as pain and death, then we realise even more that freedom is a distant memory.
The same happens today, when many of us feel that our own needs remain unfulfilled.
For some of us this happens, because of our inability to follow the cultural pattern of our era;
that is that being free is to have the material means to live well and to satisfy every passion.
For others, because of the resistance of fellow people either family or strangers to the desires that makes our own ego be the centre of the world and affects our way of thinking. For others, because of the refusal of the modern time to support the principles of justice, equality, peace and cooperation which presuppose sacrifice, love and abandoning of having our rights as a priority.
Because of the aforementioned, we feel in our hearts a sense of enslavement to the demands of the modern time and a sense of futility, without being able to find our freedom even if we have the illusion of power like some people or if we have silenced the voice of our conscience, like many do.
The Orthodox Church continues to celebrate Christmas even though in those difficult times. It continues to tell along with the Apostle Paul: “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Galatians 4: 4-5). Words of freedom, words of hope, words of truth and life! God sends His own Son to the times He has appointed. When the humanity realized its deadlocks. When the man was imprisoned to the ones who had power.
When the value of life was minimal.
When happiness was considered to be the giving of soul and body to passions, that is the absence of love for the fellow people and the use of them as means for personal fulfillment and not seeing them as brothers. When those who were wondering, were left alone and lived as strangers in a world defeated by the power of time and death.
And Christ, the Son of God, is subjected to the natural law, like all humankind. He enters this world coming only from a woman and the Holy Spirit in order to free us from all the bonds and give us the ultimate freedom: to be Children of God.
For this reason, our Orthodox Church continues to celebrate Christmas! To remind us in these difficult times, that when we believe in Christ, we are not alone. With His own presence in our lives, we are not governed by the powers of this world, but by the law of the Gospel: by the love which unites us with our fellow people and does not make us competitors.
Only then, does the real freedom come into existence: when we see others as people, who are in need of sociality, respect, help!
By offering a part of ourselves, we wipe away our passions, we give up every sinful desire and evil though, we rejoice our present life with the values of simplicity, measure, humbleness and caring for all!
Christ became human in order for us to become “sons and heirs of God” (Galatians 4: 4-7).
The relationship with Him is based on freedom which is constant and no one can take it from us, because it is His gift!
This freedom from the darkness of sin, the fear of death, the power of every authority we are invited to celebrate and live in the Christmas of our Church!
We wish you many blessed years to come! “Christ was born”! “Really he was born”, brothers and sisters!
With paternal greetings and love in Christ,
Bishop of Corfu, Paxoi and Diapontian Islands