This article originally appeared at IN4S translated by Stevo Marjanović exclusively for SouthFront.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej with priests and monks of the Serbian Orthodox Church congratulated Christmas to all sons and daughters of the Holy Church with the the traditional greeting: Peace of God – Christ is born. He also said that we do not allow anyone to divide us on any grounds.
Serbian Patriarch Irinej says that nowadays more than ever we need peace on earth and good will among peoples and nations!
“To have peace among ourselves, we must first establish personal peace with our God! Reconcile with him through repentance! Then it will be easy – as children of God, as God’s people, as brothers and sisters – to establish goodwill and peace among ourselves” said Patriarch in the letter to the media.
“We particularly welcome our brothers and sisters in our martyred Kosovo and Metohija, in our spiritual cradle. We pray to the Divine Child Christ to give them courage and strengthen them to remain true to the their vows of our holy ancestors.”
The Patriarch and the Church appeal to all displaced persons and refugees from Dalmatia, Lika, Slavonia, Baranja, Banija and Kordun, as well as from various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to do everything in their power to return to their ancestral homes, to restore them, improve them and preserve them for generations to come.
“However, it is a sin to mention the poor refugees and victims of the Serbian nation, and not to think of all the poor, victims and refugees from other nations and countries, no matter what religion they were, especially our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, Ukraine and in Africa, especially in this holy and mild days when we celebrate the birth of the greatest victim and displaced person in history – the God-Man Jesus Christ, the victor over evil, death and Satan. Let us remember them with prayer and help them when we can and how we can!”
He points out that regardless of where we live and work, we are one, Christian, Orthodox people.
“Christmas is in our hearts, in our souls. Celebrating Christmas in joy and in peace with everyone, we learned the sanctity of life and the fear of God. Greeting: ‘Peace of God – Christ is born’ and greeting back: ‘Indeed he is born’, we are formed as a nation of peace and good will of God. ”
“Knowing this, once again, we invite you to: preserve the unity of the faith and the Church of St. Sava and the sanctity of this Christmas holiday! Do not allow anyone to divide us for any reason! Serbian Orthodox Church was, is and will be the guarantor of our spiritual and national unity”, this is the Patriarch’s message in the Christmas epistle.
He points out that people and nations have distanced themselves from God.
“But not only from God but also from each other, because one is the consequence of the other. We see that many curse the name of God and God himself much more than they celebrate God and ask him for aid. We see that the greatest sin, the sin of killing a man and the whole human community, is happening on daily basis, often in the name of God. For a normal mind and intellect this is incomprehensible.”
We wonder, how is it possible that someone with the name of God on his lips kills innocent children, women, prisoners and exiles?
“In the name of which God and what kind of God did he do it? In the name of which religion it is done? Because of this pseudo depravity we have so much turmoil and fears in the world, which are nothing else but the work of the wicked.”
Church and Patriarch invites brothers and sisters and dear spiritual children, in the name of God, in the name of the new-born Christ the Lord, to keep ourselves and our people from blasphemy and sins that cry to heaven.
The message is that without the true peace with our God, peace with our brothers is impossible, as well as goodwill among people and nations.
“Knowing this, brothers and sisters and dear spiritual children, we invite you to be reconciled with our God. Cry to Him in repentance as that lost, prodigal son did in the Gospel, and He will receive us with open arms!”
Instead, good will and love among people and nations, we are witnessing a planetary expansion of egoism, envy, antagonism -sins that are causing concern, fear and anxiety for the future of this world.
“In this festive joy we welcome all of you, our spiritual children and St. Sava brothers and sisters around the world, in the country and abroad. We welcome you and invite you, reconcile with God and to each other and let us be children of God and God’s people!
Let us develop and show goodwill to each other and to all the people around us! Through this good will among men let’s be the light of this world and salt of the earth! Live holy and upright and fulfill the covenant of the fathers that were pledged for the kingdom of heaven” said Patriarch in the Christmas epistle.