Nativity Epistle of Archbishop Gabriel .

06:38 PM

To the clergy and God-saved flock of the Diocese of Canada

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ!

“Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh” (1 Tim. 3:16), as Apostle Paul already testified
near the dawn of Christianity in a letter to his beloved disciple Timothy. The Holy Gospel, describing the way this
greatest event in the history of mankind – God manifesting Himself in the flesh – has come about, says that the Angel,
announcing the Nativity of Christ to the Bethlehem shepherds, spoke thus: “I bring you good tidings of great joy
which will be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord… Glory
to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men” (Lk. 2:10-11, 14). During solemn celebration of the
Feast of the Nativity of Christ, the Holy Church keeps reminding us of the compassion and love of Him, Who came
down from the unapproachable and Awesome Throne of His divine Glory and appeared on our sinful earth “for us
men and for our salvation”.
The joy of the Nativity of Christ, that joy, which the Angels announced to all mankind, is that the Almighty Maker of
all things appeared on earth, lived among men, freed us from sin, curse and death, and opened for us the gate to His
Heavenly Kingdom, giving us eternal joy of being in God and with God. God’s peace is indeed His precious gift to
each of us, despite all that we see around us on earth now. The Feast is coming – let every soul rejoice in these days!
Dear brothers and sisters! We are entering the historical one-hundredth year of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
Russia. Its creation is related to a great historical tragedy, not only for Russia as a country, but for the entire Russian
Orthodox civilisation. Hundreds of thousands of Russians found themselves outside Russia in those sorrowful days.
Over 125 ships sailed from Crimea in late October 1919, and on 6/19 November came to anchor at the Constantinople
harbour. The same day, aboard the ship Grand Duke Alexandr Mikhailovich, the Temporary Higher Church
Administration in South-East Russia met for the first time since leaving the Motherland, and decided to extend its
operation as a Church entity in exile. That’s how our Russian Church Abroad was born. Among participants was evermemorable Metropolitan Anastasy (Gribanovsky), our second First Hierarch, the successor of Metropolitan Antony
(Khrapovitsky). As Vladyka Anastasy said later, “The wider and further we are scattered by destiny in the immense
expanses of the world, the stronger is our conviction that we are sent by Providence to the different and often the most
distant ends of the earth not only in order to preserve the treasure of our Orthodox culture, but also to spread this seed
everywhere”. By God’s will this has indeed happened: the Russian Church Abroad carried the Orthodox Faith
throughout the world. All our Dioceses are preparing for the commemoration of this historic anniversary.
We hope that the Canadian Diocese, too, will find a fitting way to celebrate such an important event in the history of
the Russian Church.
Archbishop of Montreal and Canada
Nativity of Christ, 2019/2020