"Beloved brothers and sisters, children in Christ, 2013 years have passed since the birth of Christ in the flesh.
2013 years have passed and, like then, Christ continues to be persecuted in the person of the weak by Herod and all kinds of contemporary Herods
2013 years have passed and Jesus is persecuted in the person of Christians in Syria and elsewhere
2013 years have passed and Christ still flees like a refugee not only in Egypt, but also in Lebanon, Europe, America and elsewhere, seeking security in an insecure world
2013 years have passed and the child Jesus remains imprisoned with the two hierarchs in Syria, Paul (Yazigi) and Youhanna (Ibrahim), as well as the Orthodox nuns and many other known and unknown Christians
2013 years have passed and Christ is crucified with those who are tortured and killed in order not to betray their faith in Him
2013 years have passed and Jesus is daily put to death in the person of thousands of embryos, whose parents prevent from being born
2013 years have passed and Christ is mocked and ridiculed in the person of unfortunate children, who experience the crisis of the family, destitution and poverty.
It is this human pain, sorrow and affliction that our Lord came and once more comes to assume during this Christmas season. After all, He said: “As you have done to one of these, the least of my brothers and sisters,” you have done to me.” (Matt. 25.40-41) It is for these that He was born of a Virgin, for these that He became human, for these that He suffered, was crucified and arose from the dead. That is to say: for all of us. Thus, let each of us lift up our personal cross in order to find grace and mercy when we seek His assistance. Then, the born Emmanuel, our Savior and Lord, will “be with us.” Amen.
You can read the full message HERE.
An Egyptian army soldier guards St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo, Egypt, Monday
Coptic Christians in Egypt celebrated Christmas after a summer that was clouded by the violence of Islamist attacks. Tawadros prays that the New Year will bring goodness and peace to the whole of Egypt. Last year was Tawadros’ Christmas: he had just been elected Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Twelve months have passed since then and it has been a tough time for Egypt. The country’s armed forces are back at the helm, many have died during the demonstrations staged by the Muslim Brotherhood and churches across the country have been left scarred by the wave of Islamist attacks last August. So as the Coptic community prepares to celebrate Christmas tomorrow (7 January) it finds itself suspended between the fear of fresh violence and the hope of beginning a new chapter.
Continue reading HERE.
Patriarch Kirill celebrated Midnight Mass in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, which was attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. President Putin attended mass at the new Cathedral in Sotchi, where the winter Olympics will be held next month.
“And today we celebrate an event which at its root has changed the entire course of human history. God enters the very depths of human life, he becomes one of us, he takes upon himself the weight of our sins, human infirmities and weaknesses – he brings them to Golgotha in order to free people from this unbearable burden. God henceforth is no longer to be found somewhere in the unattainable heavens, but is here, with us, among us,” Patriarch Kirill said in his Christmas message.
You can read Patriarch Kirill's full Christmas message HERE.
A few interesting videos on Rome/Constantinople relationships starting with Pope Benedicts visit to Phanar and some insight into Pope Francis relationship with Orthodox as he was the bishop with responsibility for Eastern Orthodox in communion with Rome in Argentina as archbishop of Argentina.