Christmas greetings from Bishop of Daugavpils and Rezekne Alexander

Christmas Epistle from His Grace Alexander, Bishop of Daugavpils and Rezekne, to God-loving pastors, honorable monasticism and all the faithful children of the Daugavpils-Rezekne Diocese of the Latvian Orthodox Church.

Walsvi, king of Persia … from the bright star of Vodíwe,

reaching to Bethlehem, gifts bearer of the elect́nnye,

gold, and frankincense, and myrrh, and, falling, worshiped…
(stichera for Glory: at the lithium of the holiday)

Beloved in Christ, all-honorable fathers, God-loving monks and nuns, Christ-loving brothers and sisters, faithful children of the Holy Church!

I sincerely congratulate you on the great, bright and all-joyful holiday of Christmas in the flesh of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as on the Civil New Year! A great God is born in a small nativity scene; the life of the Most High begins on earth as a Child; The Lord – the Creator of heaven and earth – is diminished by the will, becoming in everything like us a person, except for sin, “us for the sake of man and ours for the sake of salvation“(From the Creed).

By the ineffable mercy of God, we can praise God on these holy days not only in our hearts, not only in our homes, but also in our churches. This is evidence that the Lord God does not leave us with His love, His Providence, but takes care of us and leads us through difficulties and trials for our growth in faith. What will we bring to God in return for such mercies and bounties? Will we follow the holy magi who brought Christ Infant God, lying in the manger, “gifts: gold, and Lebanon, and myrrh“(Matthew 2:11)? What kind of gifts are these, and what can we bring in order to become like the Magi?

«These pilgrims of the East represented at the manger of Christ, one might say, all of humanity; and their gifts symbolically represent everything that can be brought to our Savior from us, His followers“- says St. Innocent, Archbishop of Kherson and Tauride, in his Word on the day of the Nativity of Christ, -“Who brings gold to the Lord? Brought by those who donate for the glory of God and for the benefit of their neighbors with something from their labors and acquisitions“. How precious are these gifts! Since ancient times, man has separated from his property the best, “the first fruits” and brought them to the Church as a gift to God. Through such an offering, all the property of a person was consecrated. Likewise, what we give for the benefit of our neighbors is valuable in the eyes of God as given by Christ “smaller brothers”(Matthew 25:40).

«Who brings Lebanon to the Lord (incense)? Those who use their abilities, knowledge and skills for His glory and for the benefit of their neighbors, obviously constituting something that cannot be bought by any gold“- continues Saint Innocent. So, we can also bring incense as a gift to the Divine Infant, preaching the word of God to our neighbors, defending the faith of God from persecutors and blasphemers, consoling the grieving, encouraging the lonely, honestly fulfilling our duties before the family, society, state, praying for our country, its people and authorities and for the Holy Church of Christ and Her Archpastors.

«The third gift to the Lord from the Magi was myrrh, – the last gift, therefore the highest is not only gold, but also Lebanon … Smyrna, like Lebanon, emits an incense; but its distinguishing characteristic is that it is very bitter; therefore, it expresses our troubles and sorrows, tears and suffering“, St. Innocent of Kherson teaches us. This means that those who endure illness, sorrow, misfortune, loss of health or loved ones in their lives bring precious myrrh as a gift to God. But he endures meekly, meekly; prayerfully placing their hope in God Almighty and putting off all despondency and sorrow; learning and in sorrow to rejoice and thank God for everything He gives. Such people are likened to the righteous Job the Long-suffering, who exclaimed: “The Lord gave, the Lord also took; blessed be the name of the Lord!”(Job 1:21). And their reward is great, for with God no gift will go unnoticed!

The reward for those who bring gifts to God in this life will be spiritual joy, a feeling of purity of conscience, inner spiritual strength and strength, forgiveness of sins and deliverance from sorrows, and future life – salvation of the soul and eternal bliss! Therefore, in these holy days, let us put off all sorrow and despondency and, like the gospel sorcerers, let us bring gifts to God according to our strength and circumstances of life: who gold, who incense, who myrrh!

In these Christmas days, I wish each of you to acquire spiritual benefit through good deeds for the glory of the Born God-Infant Christ, so that all of us, together with the Angels, may sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill in men“(Luke 2:14)!

The goodness of God, the intercession of the Most Holy Lady of our Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, the prayers of all saints and my Archpastoral blessing be with you all!

By the grace of God,
Bishop of Daugavpils and Rezekne

2021/2022 year,
city ​​Daugavpils

Source: GOROD.LV – новости Даугавпилса by

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