Patriarch Bartholomew highlights the difficulties faced by many people around the world.
New York.- The leaders of Orthodox Churches in Greece and abroad issued messages for the Christmas holiday on Wednesday, among them Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the Patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria and Archbishop Ieronymos of Athens and All Greece.
In his message, Patriarch Bartholomew highlighted the difficulties faced by many people around the world this Christmas as a result of the economic crisis, which had rendered countless people jobless, plunged them into poverty or even made them homeless. He emphasised that the Church offered a message of hope during such difficult times and that Christ’s message had also concerned people’s suffering on earth and not just their spiritual well-being in the hereafter.
“This is the time for a practical application of the Gospel, with a high sense of responsibility! The time when the apostolic word is heard more strongly and intensely: “Show me your faith by your works,” the Patriarch’s message wrote.
Similarly, Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilos stressed that Christians had unshakable faith that God was not indifferent to the fate of people and for this reason had sent Christ to save mankind.
Alexandria Patriarch Theodoros II noted that Christ’s birth had overturned the history of humanity in a revolutionary way, since the Son of God “had come to doubt the established order and to identify himself with the weak and oppressed”.
Patriarch Theodoros particularly highlighted the fate of African orphans that had lost their parents to AIDS. He stressed that in addition to the ills of poverty, hunger, illiteracy, corruption and war, they were also faced with social exclusion and the rejection of their families and friends and became the “sacrificial victims” of the worst catastrophe to strike Africa since slavery.
Athens Archbishop Ieronymos, head of the Church of Greece, noted that the current holiday appeared overshadowed by worry, disappointment and concern about the fate of Greece and the entire world. He stressed the need, at a time when everything seemed dark, to “turn our gaze to the light” and “once again place Christ at the centre of our lives”.