Most Reverend and Reverend Bishops!

Clergy, Religious, and Laity

Peace in the Lord!

Dearly beloved in Christ!  With God’s help, we have lived to this year’s feast of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ.  On this occasion, so solemn and joyful, I wish to greet all of you - to greet those who celebrate this occasion in their homeland, to greet those who live in places where our Church has its own developed structure, and to greet those who are residing where there is no formal presence of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church.  Whatsoever the circumstances of your life may be, I sincerely greet all of you!

I ask those of you who are blessed with the opportunity to sit together with your whole family for this Holy Supper to thank the Lord for this great gift, and at the same time to remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who are separated by long distances and forced to celebrate Christmas far from their homes.  Perhaps such a separation is only a temporary necessity, but, particularly on Christmas Eve, we feel the drama of this situation and tears fill our eyes.  What can dry these tears is perhaps hope for a quick change. 

We have the tradition to leave a place at the Christmas Eve table for those who do not have anyone with whom they can share this meal, forced by circumstance to be far from their loved ones.  On this Holy Christmas Eve, we will remember you, dearly beloved in Christ, in a special way.

What would I most want to wish all of you from the depth of my heart?  Inasmuch as Christ’s nativity in its essence, liturgical formula, and age-old traditions is considered the greatest family holyday, it should at the same time be a season when we think of one another, pray for one another, and, if need be, help one another.  If we expand the understanding of Christ’s feast to all the members of our Church and people, then we will find ourselves sharing in one large family in Christ the Lord.  I say in Christ the Lord because it is His coming and residing among us which gives all our earthly ties particular meaning, lifts up and changes them, contrary to all which, because of human limitations and frailty, stands in opposition to this sense of familial unity.  The world in which there is no God, which throws away the newly-born Child, cannot reach such heights and is forced to remain in the mire of impatience and hate.  And so, today as our lips proclaim the greeting “Khrystos Rozdayet’sya” - “Christ is Born,” may this be a great act of faith of our hearts that all of us are children of God, members of one family, and that there is no power which can force us to sow enmity between one another. 

I sincerely greet you, dear brothers and sisters!

+ LUBOMYR

Kyiv, 4 December 2006  www.ugcc.org.ua


Teachings of Christ

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?" (Mark 8:34-37 ESV)

Encounter

Rejoice, O Mother of God, Virgin full of grace. * From you has risen the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God, * shining upon those who are in darkness. * Rejoice also, you righteous Elder; * for you received in your arms the Deliverer of our souls, * Who has given us resurrection. (Troparion, Tone 1)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

O Christ God, through Your birth You sanctified the Virgin's womb; * and blessed, as it was proper, the hands of Simeon. * Now, having come, you saved us. * Give peace to Your commonwealth in times of war * and strengthen our civil authorities, whom You have loved, O You who alone loves mankind. (Kontakion, Tone 1)

(The Feast of the Encounter is February 2nd - the 40th Day of Christmas)

Random Proverb

"The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin." (Proverbs 10:10 ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

In two things then was Abraham victorious: that he killed his son although he did not kill him and that he believed that after Isaac died he would be raised up again and would go back down with him. For Abraham was firmly convinced that He Who said to him, 'through Isaac shall your descendants be named,' was not lying.

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Commentary on Genesis