God endowed the Serbian people with many talents, and for that reason he also expected much
from them. Destiny always expected two things from them: to put their own household in the
best possible order and to help neighbors who had received fewer talents to put their
household in order. The Serb fully accomplished both these tasks. He put his own household
into a Christian homelike order, and then helped each and every neighbor put his household
A Treasury of Serbian Orthodox Spirituality.
(Translated by Father Theodore Micka and Father Stevan Scott. The Free Serbian Orthodox
Diocese of the United States and Canada, Grayslake, Illinois, 1988, p. 63)
Remember the Students of St. Sava School of Theology - Libertyville
· The Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· The cumulative impact of the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
· The newness of life in Christ as a result of the Feast of the Nativity.
Recent Activities of Parish Priest
January 1 - Visited homebound parishioner recovering from surgery.
January 2 - Went to Diocesan Center in Mars, Monastery Marcha
and Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh.
January 4 - Visited homebound parishioner.
January 5 - Visited parishioner in personal care home.
From the Desert Fathers
A certain philosopher questioned the holy Antony, "How," said he, "dost thou content theyself,
Father, who are denied the comfort of books?" He answered, "My book, philosopher, is the nature
of the created things, an as often as I have a mind to read the words of God, it is at my hand."
The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Christmas, 2005
P A V L E
By the grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch,
with the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church - to all the clergy, monastics, and all
the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father,
and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous Christmas greeting:
PEACE FROM GOD - CHRIST IS BORN!
...Today a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).
- God is revealed in the flesh (I Tim. 3:16).
- The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory
...To present to you the word of God in its fullness, the mystery of that has been kept hidden
for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints..., which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory (Col. 1:25-27).
Today's holy and great Feast of the Lord, the Feast of the Nativity or Birth of our Lord
Jesus Christ, is, brothers and sisters, our dear spiritual children, the day in which the Holy
Church announces the good news of great joy that will be for all the people of God
(Luke 2:10-11). On this day, more than twenty centuries ago, in the City
of David called Bethlehem, an unusual Event transpired, unique in the history of the human
race: the Savior of world and mankind, the very Peace of God among us, our God-sent and
God-given Peace (cf. Eph. 2:14), as a Divine Youth - a Child, a newborn
infant, and in the same, o wonder above wonders, the Pre-Eternal God - He who lay in a poor
cave, in a manger, and not in the comfortable crib of a palace or mansion. Indeed, there is
no greater humility or condescension, than that which the All-powerful Lord shown at the
Birth of Christ and, later, at His Crucifixion!
The essence of the Nativity celebration consists in the Good News that God was born out
of love as a Man in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that He might regenerate all
peoples and all of His creation, deify them by Grace and eternalize them in His Church,
which already here and now reveals the future Kingdom of God as the eternal community of love
and the realization in love permeating between God and men, as well as among men themselves.
The reality of our rebirth or birth from above, birth by the Holy Spirit, in the Mystery of
Holy Baptism and thereafter in the entire grace-given life of spiritual efforts in the Church,
with its culmination and fullness in the Divine Liturgy, would not have been granted to us
had not the Pre-Eternal Son and Logos of God, One in the Holy Trinity, been born of the Holy
Spirit and the Virgin Mary within the framework of historical reality. The birth in time of
the Eternal and Timeless Lord made it possible for us the created ones, born of earth,
by our being passing, to be elevated equal to eternity, outside of time and passing.
In the person of our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God who became on Christmas Day the
Son of Man so that we the sons of men and daughters of men, might become in His Church
the children of God, brothers and sisters among ourselves.
Precisely therein consists the Christmas invitation of God to us men. With our grateful
and conciliar response to the gift of His love, to the gift of life and salvation in Him,
even our human calling and intention are realized, our new, Christian way of existence.
In Him from the beginning was, is and will be the true life, the only life worthy to be
called the light of men (cf. John 1:4). Christ as the Life is in verity
"the true light that gives light to every man" (John 1:9), a Great Light that by His Birth
has dawned upon people living in the land of the shadow of death
(Matt. 4:16), the Light of Salvation to enlighten the Gentiles
(Luke 2:30-32). Let us take note, therefore, that the Holy Evangelists
rightfully describe the Event of Christ's Birth and His manifestation to the world as a
miraculous phenomenon of light. This we see even in the works of the Holy Fathers and
Teachers of the Church, as well as in the wonderful liturgical hymns of the Nativity.
We will cite only a few examples: St. John of Damascus in his Christmas homily states:
"Today is born the Only-begotten Son of God, the Radiance of His Glory." In the Christmas
troparion the Holy Orthodox Church exclaims: "Your Nativity, O Christ our God, has revealed
to the world the light of wisdom..." Similarly in another verse the ecclesial poet sings:
"You have shinned forth from the Virgin, O Christ, as the spiritual Sun of Righteousness...",
and yet in another even more expressively: "We have been radiated by light, O Christ our God,
with Your Arrival. As Light of Light, as the faithful Reflection of the Father,
You have enlightened all creation... You who have radiated forth from the Virgin,
O God, have mercy on us."
This Divinely-inspired poetry as a sign of Light is not at all coincidental. It reveals
to us the wonderful mystery of Christmas: In Jesus Christ, the Lord saves us (the name Jesus
even means that!), granting us, as the Orient from on High and the Sun of Righteousness,
the light of wisdom and eternal Divine-Human life. Of that He Himself speaks: "Now this is
eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent"
(John 17:3). In a word, the Christmas Event reveals to the world that
eternal glory, which otherwise belongs only to God on High and appears as peace on earth,
and good will among men, such as the angels of God sang on the night of Christ's Birth
and as we sing every year at Christmas.
The newborn Christ was a Small Child, and at the same time the Pre-Eternal God,
as is noted in a Christmas liturgical hymn. Were He not the God-Man, He would neither
be the Savior nor Restorer of all and everything. This we especially emphasize so that
we may turn your attention to all of the threatening operations of old and new sects,
occult groups and para-religious movements, whose self-proclaimed preachers and missionaries,
at times openly, and sometimes veiled, denounce this fundamental Good News of the Church.
As Orthodox Christians, we respect everyone's conscience and freedom, we show good will and
feel love even towards those who inhibit our holy faith, that was once for all entrusted to
the saints (Jude 3), however we are at the same time spiritually awake
and as the pupil of our eye protect the sanctity and glory of God, protect the salvific
fullness of the faith, which was preached by the apostles, the Holy Fathers, martyrs,
confessors, the Councils of the Church, and by which throughout the ages lived - and for which,
when necessary died - our honorable ancestors.
However, our faithfulness to the Gospel of Christ does not mean that we close our eyes
before all of that which is in truth human, authentic or worthy even in that part of humanity,
which is found outside the canonical borders of the Church, and also outside the domain of
its missionary preaching. For, as the holy Bishop Nicholai convinces us, nothing exists
that is holy, good, beautiful or truthful, - wherever we encounter it, be it even partially,
-and that to a certain extent does not maintain the Divine- Human image of the Only Holy,
Good and Philanthropic, Wonderful in His saints, Witness of the Faithful and True,
Jesus Christ, our Lord. Whoever lives according to their conscience does good,
witnesses to truth, defends righteousness and furthers love, has received these gifts
from Christ and returns them to Him. In light of this understanding, let us look,
our dear spiritual children, at the challenges and temptations of our time and all of us
in it! Let us remain therefore in the faith, let us breathe with the lungs of hope and
be inspired by love, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
the Only God!
For us is there any greater challenge or more difficult testing of our faith and
conscience than the painful question of Kosovo and Metohija? Indeed, there is not!
However, our Holy Assembly of Bishops clearly and honorably recently formulated the
position of the Church concerning the same. Here we will only call to mind the fact
that no one has the right to unilaterally change the state-legal status of our southern
region, without the consensus of all the peoples who live in Serbia, and also,
therefore, the Serbian people. What then is to be said of the possibility of some kind of
"negotiation process" accompanied by force? Life, peace, freedom, equal opportunities,
and equal rights for all, the preservation of Serbian Orthodox sanctuaries,
the uninhibited return of expellees and refugees, the absolute respecting of European
values and international order, and before all, the Charter of the United Nations
(which, as far as we know, no one has yet declared invalid)... - all of these are only
certain elements and "standards" on the path to truthful resolution, wherein all will gain,
and no one will suffer loss. Something else, which is important and essential:
final status does not exist here on earth, not for anyone or anything, and someone's
comparison of the alleged birth of a new nationhood for Kosovo and Metohija to the
Birth of Christ is not a phrase in the service of Albanian national fetishism,
rather really and truly blasphemy.
We invite all of you, brothers and sisters, that by your warm prayers to God and
by appealing to the conscience of members of organizations concerned with human rights,
you will contribute towards the God-pleasing expedient release of the imprisoned
Archbishop of Ochrid, His Beatitude Kyr Jovan, so that the clergy and faithful people
of the Archdiocese of Ochrid, an autonomous Church under the wings of our Patriarchate,
will expediently win in their battle for freedom of faith and conscience, to stop the
last of religious persecution in Europe with its epicenter in Skoplje and that the
Christmas light of salvation and understanding of truth will enlighten the mind and soul
of the bearers of the destructive ecclesiastical schism in the Republic of Macedonia,
so that heaven and earth may rejoice in the unity of Orthodox faithful.
The Serbian people in the Serb Republic (Republika Srpska) and throughout Bosnia
and Herzegovina, are also exposed to bitter temptations, we invite them to endurance
in the faith and on the path of good and humanity, and all of the peoples and communities
there to reconciliation, mutual forgiveness and common efforts towards a future.
We invite the state authorities of Croatia that, in the name of their European perspective,
they secure the return of the expelled and refugee Serbs, and for the returnees a peaceful
life and security. In like manner, we invite them to extend legal protection to the clergy,
the faithful and the temples of the Serbian Orthodox Church, which are once again exposed
to threats and attacks, especially in Dalmatia.
We will repeat even on today's Feast the invitation to Orthodox Christians and all
peoples of good will in Montenegro for brotherly unity and for togetherness as among
themselves so also with everyone, alongside another reminder of the fact that salvation
is neither found in national nor state separation nor in partisan ideologies but rather
in the spirit of conciliar unity and in an authentic global civilization of love,
whose source is precisely the Church of Christ. This invitation for togetherness and
unity concerns, of course, all of our faithful people, wherever they may live. Especially,
we turn to our spiritual children that live in various lands throughout the world,
with a plea that they preserve their faith and their identity and that everywhere and
always they be of assistance to their Church and their people, especially in this difficult
One of the honorary names of the Newborn Lord Christ was also the name Emmanuel.
This means God is with us (Matt. 1:23)
PEACE FROM GOD - CHRIST IS BORN!
INDEED HE IS BORN!
Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade, at Christmas, 2005.
Your prayerful intercessors before the Divine Infant Christ:
Archbishop of Pec,
Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
Serbian Patriarch PAVLE
Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana JOVAN
Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands AMPHILOHIJE
Metropolitan of Midwestern America CHRISTOPHER
Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosna NIKOLAJ
Bishop of Shabac-Valjevo LAVRENTIJE
Bishop of Nish IRINEJ
Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla VASILIJE
Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
Bishop of Canada GEORGIJE
Bishop of Banat NIKANOR
Bishop for America and Canada (New Gracanica Metropolitanate) LONGIN
Bishop of Eastern America MITROPHAN
Bishop of Zica CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
Bishop of Ras and Prizren ARTEMIJE
Retired Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina ATANASIJE
Bishop of Bihac and Petrovac CHRYSOSTOM
Bishop of Osijek and Baranja LUKIJAN
Bishop of Central Europe CONSTANTINE
Bishop of Western Europe LUKA
Bishop of Timok JUSTIN
Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
Bishop of Slavonia SAVA
Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
Bishop of Milesevo FILARET
Bishop of Dalmatia FOTIJE
Bishop of Budimlje and Niksic JOANIKIJE
Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina GRIGORIJE
Bishop of Australia and New Zealand (New Gracanica Metropolitanate) MILUTIN
Bishop of Gornji Karlovci GERASIM
Vicar Bishop of Hvostno ATANASIJE
Vicar Bishop of Jegar PORFIRIJE
Vicar Bishop of Lipljan TEODOSIJE
Vicar Bishop of Dioclea JOVAN
Vicar Bishop of Hum MAKSIM
The Orthodox Archdiocese of Ochrid
Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje JOVAN
Bishop of Polos and Kumanovo JOAKIM
Vicar Bishop of Dremvic and locum tenens of the Diocese of Bitolj MARKO
St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, Carmichaels, Pennsylvania.
December 26, 2005 / January 8, 2006
Fr. Rodney Torbic
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