December 2020 English Newsletter Posted December 31, 2020 by admin


My beloved the benevolent

Grace and peace, wishing you all the best and blessings

I am pleased to congratulate you on the Nativity Advent Fast and the holy month of Kiahk. At this time of the year, the church prepares us – with fasting, prayers and readings – to receive the Born of Bethlehem, Who was incarnated for our salvation.

The month of Kiahk is characterized by its beautiful hymns, and nightly praises. The church also arranged that the Sunday readings during the month of Kiahk are taken from the first chapter of the Gospel of our teacher St. Luke the Evangelist.  The first Sunday is the Annunciation of the birth of St. John the Baptist, the second Sunday is the Annunciation of the birth of Christ, the third Sunday is the visit of the Virgin to Elizabeth, and the fourth Sunday is the birth of John the Baptist.

I would like to contemplate with you in this message on the visit of the Virgin to Elizabeth. At the present time, due to the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic, our socialization has been reduced and visits have been replaced with meetings on the internet.  But no matter what modern technology offers us, visits and personal meetings remain the most effective way to build social relationships.  But not every visit is a useful one; sometimes a visit can be harmful.  Therefore, we would like to contemplate on the visit of the Virgin to Elizabeth as a model of a useful, blessed visit, so that we may follow this sacred example.

1-The purpose of the visit: In order to do a successful job, we must first define the goal of doing it.  A good clear goal leads to successful and useful work.  The Virgin Mother of Light knew from the angel that her cousin Elizabeth is six months pregnant.  “Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.”lu.1:36.  The Virgin felt the importance of visiting Elizabeth to share her joy and help her in the last months of her pregnancy, especially as the Bible says,  “Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.’” Lu. 1:24-25. Truly, Elizabeth needed someone to be with her and keep her secret until she gives birth; and who better than the Mother of Light!

“Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah” Lu. 1:39; she went into the hill country with haste. He who loves to do good gets up quickly without hesitation. He does not stop to think and calculate what he will gain or lose from doing good. The Virgin did not think who would go to whom! Does the Mother of God go to John’s mother or vice versa? She did not think about Joseph her fiancé. Does she tell him about the annunciation of the angel to her and consider his reaction to seeing her pregnant after several months of being away from the house?  She only thought of one thing: to be with Elizabeth. Good work is enough of a goal; so, goodness remains and prevails. The man who does good does not fail at all even if he does not reap something immediately, but he will reap at the right time. Remember the words of St. Paul, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Ga. 6:9.

2-The theme of the visit: The theme of this blessed visit was the glorification of God.  Elizabeth cried with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb; But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Lu. 1:42-45. Elizabeth expressed her joy by glorifying God, who granted her grace above grace; not only to be pregnant with a son in her old age, but also for the Mother of God to visit and stay with her for three months.  He gave her a great grace that the babe in her womb would be filled with the Holy Spirit. As for the Virgin, she said her beautiful praise, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Lu. 1:46-47

I wonder, what do we say during our visits to others? Do we discuss worldly matters? Are our conversations about judgement or gossip?

3-Divine presence: This visit was characterized by divine presence. The Virgin comes carrying in her womb the incarnate Son of God, and Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, and John the Baptist, who is a babe in his mother’s womb, is filled with the Holy Spirit, fulfilling what the angel said to his father, Zacharias  “He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.” Lu.1:15

May God grant us to reevaluate our visits to one another regarding its goals, its theme and the presence of God.  May God grant us to follow the example of the Virgin in her blessed visitation and her love to do good. May the Lord fill our hearts with the love of doing good, remembering St. Paul’s saying, “But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.” 2 Thess. 3:13

May God bless your gifts to support Santa Verena Charity’s programs.

Metropolitan Serapion