[Note: this is a missive from the SELC's "Faith and Hope" newsletter series, which includes Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin's Christmas Address - Ed.]
Peace to you dear Brothers and Sisters,
May we bring to your attention the words of greetings from the Christmas Address of our Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin that will be read in the parishes of SELC during the Christmas liturgy.
Brothers and Sisters:
“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Today the most important words for our faith were spoken in the church. And it seems that there is certain incompleteness in them as they appear in our [Russian]translation.
Christ, the Son of God, eternal Word of the Father, came down to earth, was born among us, dwelt with us, but what came after that? What a joy that the Word has never stopped dwelling. We could have translated it in this way: “The Word ... has begun to dwell” or “The Word has made dwelling with us.” The Lord has come to earth not to leave us afterwards.
And so it becomes perfectly clear why we need Church so much. For if the Word became flesh and began to dwell among us, then the main question we should come up with is the following: where shall we find this Word?
Where are we to find Christ? The answer is simple: there where He awaits us at every liturgy, where the Eucharist is celebrated at the altar, the major sacrament of God's presence on earth.
It is impossible to be saved without Christ. It is impossible to find Christ bypassing the Church. We come here as the Christmas shepherds to the Bethlehem manger, and here we find Christ. He is so close to us in the Eucharist that it’s impossible to be any closer. We partake of Him, and His life becomes our life.
My beloved parishioners, I wish you a merry Christmas and happy New Year. Let this new year bring you happiness and may your dreams come true. And the most important thing is that you would strive to that place where Christ is and be with Him always.
We wish you all God’s blessings during this holy time of Christmas!
“Faith and Hope”
“Faith and Hope”