Nativity Encyclical 2011

Beloved Children in the Lord,

Solomon, the wisest of kings, prophesies in his Proverbs: Wisdom hath builded herself a house, and hath set up seven pillars. She hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine in a bowl, and hath prepared a table. She hath sent forth her servants, calling with a loud proclamation to the feast, saying, Whoso is foolish, let him turn aside unto me; and to them that want understanding she saith, Come, eat of my bread, and drink the wine which I have mingled for you. (Prov. 9: 1-5)

Today Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, fulfills this prophesy. He takes on human flesh and builds the house of His body, being born of the most pure Lady the Theotokos. So doing, He joins together God and man, and makes the two one. He calls each one of us to his spiritual banquet and to share in the Kingdom of Heaven.

During the sixth century after Christ’s incarnation, the great Emperor Justinian built an earthly temple, Hagia Sophia, dedicated to the Wisdom of God. This was the greatest church in the history of Christianity, and it served as a perfect reflection on earth of God’s majesty and glory. Keeping in mind how the economy of our salvation was inaugurated when the Wisdom of God deigned to be born in human flesh in the manger, Justinian chose to dedicate the church on the day of Christmas.

Now, our own Metropolis is celebrating Christmas by building an exact copy of Hagia Sophia at our spiritual center, Holy Ascension Monastery. The Fathers of the Monastery have toiled throughout the Christmas Fast to have the foundations finished in time for the Nativity of our Savior. We pray that God will bless this holy work, that His name might be glorified on earth by all men. Just as the pagans in times of old were converted upon seeing the church of Hagia Sophia, so we also entreat the Savior that this holy temple will bring the erring to the way of Truth and Wisdom, and be a source of consolation to the faithful in these troubled times.

Let us then hearken to the voice of the Wisdom of God calling us to celebrate the feast of the Nativity of Jesus Christ and to help, each as he can, in this blessed work. Let us imitate the Wise Men in bringing our gifts to Him, so that like them, we may receive grace and mercy from our Savior. Thus we will glorify His holy name and receive His blessing.

May the Child lying in the manger be with you all on this joyous day.

Your fervent intercessor,

Pavlos of America

Orthodox Awareness

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