January 2021 English Newsletter Posted December 31, 2020 by admin


My beloved the benevolent                                                  

Grace and peace, may you have all the goodness and blessing.

I am pleased to congratulate you all on the beginning of a new year and the Nativity Feast of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

The birth of Christ is a new beginning for all of mankind. The Son of God, the Word, was incarnate and took a complete human nature with a rational soul in order to raise us from our sins, free us from the bondage of Satan and grant us a new nature.  Thus, we praise God in Friday’s Theotokia, saying, “He took what is ours and gave us what is His; we praise Him, glorify Him, and exalt Him.

What did Christ give us through his incarnation?

St. John says, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” 1 Jn. 3:1, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Jn. 1:12-13 “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” Jn.1:16

St. Paul says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1Cor. 6:19-20

God granted us the sonship to become children of God and pray to Him, “Our Father who art in heaven”: He granted us that His Holy Spirit dwell in us and that our bodies become a temple of the Holy Spirit. He granted us to partake of His holy body and His precious blood, to abide in us and abide in Him. We praise God for this great grace, saying in Monday’s Psali, “You are surrounded, by the cherubim, and the seraphim, and they cannot see You. We look at You every day, upon the alter, and we partake of Your Body, and Your honored Blood.

This great treasure is filled with many blessings, as St. Paul says, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” 2 Cor. 4:7.  These earthen vessels are our weak human nature. Usually, a person puts his treasure in an iron or a steel safe, not in a fragile ceramic safe, in order to protect the treasure from the hands of the manipulators.  But the divine treasure that we have received by the incarnation of the Son of God, the Word, protects us; we are not the ones who protect this treasure.

+The person, no matter the blessings he’s received, is weak in the face of afflictions and tribulations. St. Paul, the great among the apostles who was taken to the third heaven and witnessed things that he could not express, to whom the Lord Jesus appeared many times; this great saint says, “For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises that dead,” 2 Cor. 1:8-9. Elijah the Prophet, the great among the prophets, the fiery prophet who stood before Ahab the evil king and scolded him: who destroyed the prophets of Baal, when he heard the threat of the evil Jezebel, he was afraid and prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” 1Kings 19:4

+We should not be shaken, nor be afraid, nor be surprised when we are weak in the face of afflictions and tribulations.  We truly have a great treasure, but we are weak earthen vessels, and the source of power is God, “That the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us,” 2 Cor. 4:7. St. Paul added,  “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” 2 Cor. 4:8-9  Tribulation may pressure us in every aspect of our lives, but God grants us strength of heart, so that we do not get crushed, because tribulation is what the heart is strengthened to bear.  Trials leave us puzzled and make us ask: Why did this happen? And why did God allow that?  And where is the beneficent God the lover of mankind? Our confusion does not allow us to fall into despair, because we trust in our God, the Almighty, the Maker of good things, and the lover of mankind. Thoughts tire us and the devil persecutes us, but God does not abandon us because He promised to be with us all the days of our life. We may fall before trials, but by the power of God, we do not perish. So, St. Paul says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”2 Cor. 4:17

+Let us rejoice in the great treasure that God has granted us, His children; even if we are earthen vessels, the power of God works in us, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Cor.4:16

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

Metropolitan Serapion