To all our beloved children in the Lord
The Reverend Clergy and the people of true worship
In our Antiochian Archdiocese of Europe
"Our Saviour hath visited us from on high, from the east of easts; wherefore, we who are in darkness and shadows have now found the truth; for the Lord hath been born of the Virgin." (Exapostilarion of Nativity).
This is what the chanter proclaims in the glorious day of the Nativity, and this is what we repeat with one mouth and one heart. We repeat for a banner of peace and salvation to the entire world.
Each year, we celebrate the Nativity. The Nativity is the proclamation of the peace, happiness and tranquility which God granted to man in the Incarnation, in which we see the Holy Infant Jesus in the grotto at Bethlehem. "Do not be afraid, a Saviour is born for you today". We celebrate the Nativity amidst a world that is in a great confusion, of horror and of fear. Where is the peace? Where is the righteousness? Where is it? ... especially if we look to our countries in the Arabic East.
We have a cry for every human being:- "You who live in the darkness and shadows, you who scheduling killing and destruction; you who go after your interests neglecting the dignity of peoples and their right to live in serenity; you who are skillful in making divisions, wars and destruction: listen! Christ came as the Bearer of peace to all humanity, He came indeed as Peace and Righteousness. Let all leave the hell of their darkness and let all return to the Light, to Righteousness. O Man, today there is no place for anything except the discourse of joy, peace, love and righteousness. Where are you, O Man, in the face of all of this?"
In this context the Orthodox Church has been present in the Arabic East from the beginning of Christendom. From antiquity Orthodox people have had an effective role in the cultural and national resurrection of their respective countries. We do not forget this, our effective role, in working together to find the best solution to the present crisis and then pressing forward on the road of development and of progress. We insist on the strong relationship between our Orthodox faithful and their countries by means of ecclesial and social collaboration between their parishes in the Diaspora and the countries of the Mother Church.
In the recent circumstances and situations of the Arabic World, we hope that Syria, that Arabic struggling State, both in its recent history and its glorious past, will recover its internal safety in order to be able, in the realisation of desirable reforms, to maintain its effective role in the international square which was, and still is, the axis of both its activities and its conscience.
Having in mind all of these things, we highlight the role of the Church in its aspect of being the conscience of all the faithful. It (the Church) reminds us always of the good things which God Himself desired for all humanity. Consequently it remind us of our need for a general awareness within which all its members may work toward developing and modernising their societies, instructing culturally their peoples, respecting the Declaration of the Human Rights and participating effectively in edifying a universal culture in which human dignity occupies the highest place that it deserves.
We pray to the Newly Born Infant to keep in peace the whole World and the Arabic East. We pray also that God will keep Syria from all the bad forces that try to harm it.
We repeat, in the period of Christmas, what the Angels in the heavens chanted:- "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men".