Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
May we bring to your attention the words of greetings from our Bishop Vsevolod that were read in the parishes of Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church during the Christmas liturgy.
Brothers and sisters,
When did the Christian Church begin? Different people respond differently. Martin Luther speaks of Adam and Eve as the first church. Most people consider the feast of Pentecost to be the birthday of the Church, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in tongues of flame. Sometimes such a beginning is seen in the events of the Last Supper and the Crucifixion.
But about Christmas, it is quite possible to say that with it began the Church — the mysterious Body of Christ, in which we are all members, according to Saint Paul [1Cor. 12:12-13]. After all, the Lord Himself was born “to save His people from their sins” [Mt. 1:21]. The Word has become flesh to dwell among us [John 1:14].
In the Church for each of us, this salvific presence of Christ began and continues, when He abides in us, and we in Him [John 6:56]. That is why, today, as those ancient shepherds [Luke 2:15], we came to worship Christ and hear the Gospel. But we are more blessed than the shepherds, because we have the Eucharist — a meal of eternal life.
If we take of Holy Communion, we will not die [John 6:54], but we will live forever with our Wonderful Savior.
I congratulate you on Christmas, my beloved parishioners, and I wish you a happy and churchly new year!
And we wish you all God’s blessings at this Christmas time and New Year!
Your Siberian friends from “Faith and Hope”
Please see the photos from the Christmas night liturgy in the Parish of Saint Andrew (Novosibirsk).
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