January 2024 English Newsletter Posted May 23, 2024 by admin


My Beloved the Benevolent                                   January 2024

I am pleased to congratulate you on the glorious Nativity Feast during which we celebrate the birth of our Lord, our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who emptied Himself and took our human nature for our salvation. This year, we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity for two days. The original day of the celebration is Kiahk 29th, which falls this year on Monday, January 8th; the additional celebration is on Kiahk 28th, which falls on Sunday, January 7th. As is known, the celebration of the Nativity Feast is preceded by the Paramoun Fast, which is a preparatory fast; when we eat fasting food without fish. Since our celebration of the Nativity Feast begins on January 7th, the Paramoun will be on Friday and Saturday, January 5th and 6th.

We pray that God may grant us a joyful spiritual celebration to rejoice in the birth of our Lord Jesus in our hearts, our homes, and the whole world; so that the Divine peace may dwell in us and so our hearts may be filled with spiritual joy that no one can take away. This is why the angels rejoiced in the beautiful praise, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Lu. 2:14

In these days we witness many wars and conflicts; we pray to the King of Peace that peace will prevail throughout the whole world. In these days when many are facing multiple difficulties, we pray to our God, the giver of joy, to fill our hearts with joy and gladness.

+ Indeed, the birth of Christ brought a message of joy to the world when the angel appeared to the shepherds and said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”  Lu. 2:10-11

+ The shepherds were happy with the good news, so they went hastily to Bethlehem, “And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.”  Lu. 2:  16 “Then the shepherd returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.” Lu. 2 :20

+The Magi came from the East to Jerusalem to see the Lord Jesus, saying, “Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His Star in the East and have come to worship Him.” Matt. 2:2 When they learned that He was in Bethlehem, they went; And the star they followed was in the East until it sat above where the baby Jesus was. As the Bible mentions, “And when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary, His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense and myrrh.” Matt. 2: 10-11

+The Virgin Mary rejoiced upon hearing the angel’s good news to her and said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 During her visit to Elizabeth, she praised her profound and joyful praise, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.” Luke 1:46-50 One of the beautiful hymns that we pray in the Divine Liturgy is the hymn of Rejoice, O Mary: “Rejoice, O Mary, handmaiden and mother, for the angels praise Him who is in your arms, and the Cherubim, worthily worship Him; the Seraphim too, without ceasing.

+Joseph the carpenter – the righteous man chosen by God to care for the Virgin and the Child Jesus – rejoiced at the birth of the Lord Jesus, especially after the Lord revealed to him the mystery of the Holy Conception, “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her public example, was minded to put her away secretly.” Matt. 1:19 This is why the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matt. 1:20-21

+Elizabeth rejoiced at the coming of the Lord Jesus while He was in the womb of the Virgin and was filled with the Holy Spirit and cried out 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?” Lu. 1: 42-43

+ John the Baptist rejoiced in his mother’s womb to meet the Lord Jesus in the womb of the Virgin, for as his mother Elizabeth said, “For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” Lu. 1:44 The angel’s statement to his father Zechariah, “He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb.”  Lu. 1:15

My beloved, let us rejoice in the birth of our Lord Jesus by encountering Him so that we rejoice with great joy in the Lord:

1. To have purity of heart, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God.” Matt. 5:8

2. By serving the needy, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did to Me.” Matt. 25:40

We pray to God that He may grant us purity of heart and holy zeal to help every person in need.

May the Lord bless your gifts to support Santa Verena’s charitable programs.

Metropolitan Serapion