Avaleht/Sõnavõtud/Christmas message 2016

Christmas message 2016

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour,

who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

the bishops, priests and all the members of our Church,

What an immense divine blessing fills us every time we contemplate the Nativity of the Messiah, foretold us by the prophets! It is a mystery that neither heaven nor earth can comprehend, into which human wisdom cannot penetrate, one we can only accept with faith in our soul. St John says in his Gospel, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name“ (John 1:12).

God gives us a Saviour in the person of Jesus, born today in Bethlehem from Virgin Mary. It is not a mere human birth on earth; it is the birth of God in man. The Saviour born to us is God who came as human being, came in flesh and opened men the path of deification, embracing all humanity with the fire of his divinity.

And when God is born in man, it is in order to call men to be born in God. When God is born in man, it is in order to enable man to become an eternal being of light and love…

The incarnation of God is a ‘risk’ He takes in His great love towards the creation. This love will go to the extremes, to die for others. In the centre of this love is passion and the cross, and finally victory over death. Love, if looked at from the perspective of eternal life, goes far beyond the circles of friends and family to reach the enemies and the strangers and those without hope.

If we had an unshaking faith, we would see clearly the divine Infant lying I the manger, surrounded by His Mother Mary, who had born Him, and Joseph, who is guarding and protecting them. We would see the shepherds, who do not philosophize, but strive with joy to the cave. If we could truly see and celebrate this day as a feast of the future, as an explosion of the eternal in temporal, we would understand how especial this day is. A day of open doors, when we build bridges towards those who have no voice nor feelings left, who are closed and concentrated only on themselves and who decide to remain in their absurdity.

It is no secret that mankind today is standing before big menaces and suffers great calamities. Millions of people – men, women and children – starve to death and perish in terrible circumstances caused by wars. They have to leave their ancestral homes to go as refugees towards the unknown. Many are unemployed, many see their life’s work destroyed by natural disasters. To face all these situations, to transform them, as Patriarch Athenagoras has said, into occasions for something new to be born, we need men and women who would serve life, communion and justice, who would not abandon love. People who would not surrender and lose hope, but would share with others their courage and confidence.

Even if the light of Nativity seems so fragile, even if there are people among us who scarcely believe in it, it is a light that cannot go out. God Himself keeps it and is letting it shine in the hearts of all men. There is no other option in our time other than to open our doors for everyone, so that nobody, neither a person nor a country nor a region, would be alone.

This feast is a feast of Infant Jesus. Let us little by little open this only door, the door of this incredible mystery, in order to confess with a child’s simple hope: God is not somewhere in the highest, somewhere else, God is with us. His name is Emmanuel!

My dear ones,

A French preacher has put it very aptly:

“Let us greet this visit of God to us, because He is coming for our’s sake.

Let us greet this message of God, the message of Him who came to earth in order to open the door of true life. This is a message for us.

Let us be guided by God. We shall not regret it.”

With fatherly blessings I wish you, that Christ our God, born of Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, would make us strong to walk in His footsteps, for He is the joy, the light, the peace and the future of the world. Amen!



+ Stephanos,

Metropolitan of Tallinn and All Estonia


Tallinn, the Nativity of Christ 2016