Nativity epistle of His Grace, Bishop Gabriel

6 January 2011

Dear in the Lord, fathers, brothers and sisters!

The spiritual significance of the events of the Gospel history, one way or another connected with the birth into the world in the flesh of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, is truly precious for the pious Christian conscience.

“As God of the world and Father of compassions, Thou hast sent to us Thine Angel of great Council, Who granteth us peace. Wherefore, guided to the light of knowledge divine, and rising at dawn out of the night, we glorify Thee, Who lovest mankind,” is sung in the 5th ode of the Nativity canon.

We see, that long before the coming of the Messiah-Christ, He was already called “Angel of great Council of God”. And in these days of the solemnities of Nativity He, Christ-Child, having become Man, came to earth, to us – people, granting us peace. What does it mean, to have spiritual peace? It means humbly to accept the course of our life, including sorrows and injustices. One cannot live without them, yet in the eyes of true followers of Christ, they – at least on the day of the Feast – seem to be too insignificant to disturb the spiritual peace of those, who came to know that today with us is the Angel of great Council, “Who brought the very heaven into the cave in Bethlehem”, – according to the words of the Most Blessed Metropolitan Anthony, founder of our Church Abroad.

Every little detail of the Nativity events is full of salvific meaning. Let us recall how the righteous Joseph the Betrothed met the news that the Virgin Mary committed to his care was found to be with child. From the words of the canon of Nativity with learn that the meek elder was overcome by the “tempest of doubting thoughts.” Separately, we should note that he was not yet granted the full comprehension of exactly what events his was a witness and participant. The Betrothed remained humble, meek and fully submitted to the will of God, unwaveringly believing in its goodness and justice. In response to his meekness and humility, the Lord, wishing to comfort and strengthen His faithful servant, sent to him in a dream His Angel, who revealed to him the greatest mystery of the creation of the world: “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:20).

How often all of us are faced with temptations, which stir us up, incline us toward wrath and irritability. Yet let us not forget that it is not given unto us to understand the true meaning of what is happening in the world “according to our own desires.” Let us ask of the Lord meekness, humility and kindness. Maybe the merciful Lord will see our faithfulness and efforts, and will grant us the understanding of the salvific meaning of the events, which cause us alarm and confusion. “Bow before the manger of beasts, through which you, who became irrational, were nourished by the Word,” says St. Ephraim the Syrian, and then our souls will be filled peace and joy in Christ.


Bishop of Montreal & Canada

Nativity of Christ, 2011