Most Reverend Archpastors, Venerable Fathers, beloved brothers and sisters
CHRIST IS RISEN!
On this bright, salvific and sacred day, I address all of you with this ancient greeting and congratulate you on the Lord’s Pascha.
Today our hearts are filled with inexpressible joy, because the Giver of life Christ not only resurrected by the power of His Divinity, but also abolished the power of death, destroyed the gates of hell and granted all those who believe in Him the opportunity to be with Him not only here on earth, but also in blessed eternity.
During the time that has passed since last spring, since last Pascha, people have begun to think more often about the meaning of life, about enduring values, about their soul, about God, and it is important for every believer to understand what the greatest event of the Resurrection of Christ means for him personally. We must remember that the Lord accepted the death on the cross and rose from the grave for the salvation of each of us, so that the light of eternal life might shine on everyone, that the joy of the presence of God and His unceasing care for us might touch every heart. We believe that this joy of being with Christ, Whom we have loved with all our souls, with all our lives, will accompany us into eternity, will become complete and never end.
I wish you all, my dear ones, that the wonderful Paschal light transform each of you and inspire you to perform deeds of love and mercy, so that you share this light and this joy with your family and friends, so that you overcome all difficulties and sorrows with hope in the Savior and confidence that we can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13).
Again and again I greet you with the feast of the Lord’s Pascha and proclaim with special feeling:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
TRULY CHRIST IS RISEN!
Metropolitan of Singapore and South-East Asia,
Patriarchal Exarch of South-East Asia
Students from Indonesia and the Philippines celebrated the Feast of the Entry of the Lord into Jerusalem in the house church of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, where they continue their studies. During Holy Week, the seminarians are within the walls of the Academy and do not leave its borders, preparing for the Bright Holiday of the Resurrection of Christ on long divine services. Let us pray for our brothers in Christ and turn to the words of the troparion of the first three days of Holy Week, calling the faithful to spiritual vigil: Behold, the Bridegroom cometh at midnight, / and blessed is the servant, whom he will find watching,/ but unworthy is he, whom He will find despondent./ Beware, O my soul,/ lest thou be weighed down with sleep,/ lest thou be given up to death,/ and be shut out from the kingdom. But arise, calling:/ Holy, Holy, Holy art Thou, O God,// through the Theotokos have mercy on us.
Press service of the Moscow Patriarchal Exarchate of the Southeast Asia
Dear brothers and sisters!
Wholeheartedly, I congratulate all of you on the great feast of the Meeting of the Lord, on which, according to the tradition that has developed in our Church, we also celebrate the Day of Orthodox Youth. Today we remember a significant event, which has not only historical, but also great spiritual significance. On the one hand, a symbolic meeting of the Old and New Testaments takes place in the person of the righteous elder Simeon and the Divine Infant Jesus. On the other hand, this is a meeting of a man with God.
Meeting God takes a very special place in our life. Together with faith, we acquire the true meaning of being and a solid moral foundation, and when we strive to actively embody the Gospel words in our daily exploits, the Lord grants us spiritual vision and the ability to look at many things with reasoning. These valuable qualities, as we can see, are in great demand today, because it is sometimes extremely difficult to understand the flow of information. How difficult it can be to resist attempts by malicious forces to drag us into reckless adventures, dubious and even dangerous enterprises.
Spiritual vision is not at all the lot of the gray-haired elders, as it might seem at first glance. You probably remember well from the history lessons about the heroic deeds of the Holy Prince Alexander Nevskiy, whom the Russian Orthodox Church venerates as a saint. I would like to remind you that at the age of 19 he already won the Crusaders on the Neva, and he defeated the Livonian knights on the ice of Chudskoe Lake, before reaching the age of 21. Despite his youth, he was endowed by God with amazing wisdom and spiritual strength, as well as a deep understanding of what is beneficial for the country and people. This year we are celebrating the 800th anniversary of the birth of the blessed prince. In commemoration of the church and state celebrations timed to this date, I am glad to declare this jubilee year «The Year of Alexander Nevsky». May the life feat of this wonderful Russian saint inspire you to serve as an example to follow, and to help someone to meet God and join the rich spiritual treasury of Orthodox culture.
Calling the blessing of Christ upon all of you.
On February 5, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Metropolitan Pavel of Manila and Hanoi met with students of the Philippine-Vietnamese diocese who are studying at the St. Petersburg Theological Academy. Metropolitan Pavel told the students about his pastoral ministry and shared his experience. The students asked Vladyka questions about the spiritual life of the priest, humility, repentance and communication with the parishioners, and also discussed issues related to the further training of seminarians.
On the Feast of St Pavel Obnorskiy and Komelskiy we congratulate our dear Metropolitan Pavel with the Holiday of his Heavenly Patron and we wish him good health, spiritual strength and God’s assistance in every thing.
Loving congregation of the Philippines-Vietnamese diocese
Most Reverend Archpastors, Venerable Fathers,beloved brothers and sisters!
“Christ is born – Glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven – Meet Him!” – with these words, the Holy Church leads us in to the joy of the Great Feast of the Nativity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, on which I cordially greet you all. In these days, our thoughts plunge into the recollection of events occurring more than two thousand years ago. In the perception of the people living at that time, the coming to the world of the long-awaited Messiah was conceived as an act of exceptional significance. It seemed quite natural that the Great King should be born in rich palaces, surrounded by many servants, in a festive atmosphere. However, everything happens contrary to human logic. The Creator seems to say to the people: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways” (Isaiah 55:8). Instead of a palace – a cave, instead of servants – livestock, instead of festivity – a search for some meagre lodging. God reveals Himself in the world as a defenceless, meek Infant, and from His very birth suffers needs and hardships, sheltering inside a cramped stable meant for animals. All of these circumstances bear witness to the true meaning of Christ the Savior’s earthly ministry, who “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). When the Lord speaks to us, this often happens quite differently than we may expect. Divine logic is entirely dissimilar from human logic. During past Nativity celebrations, have we considered what trials we will soon have to endure? In the past year, we were deprived of the usual joy of fellowship, faced colossal limitations, difficulties, sorrows and disease. Yet, have we now not begun to better sense and understand the meaning of Apostle Paul’s bold words: “neither death, nor life … nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8: 38-39)? The Creator reminded us, through the events of this past year: that wherever we are, no matter how difficult the circumstances we experience, that we are always Christ’s, and therefore “not an hair of your head shall perish.” It is only needful for us, according to the words of the Gospel, to not despair, to trust the Creator and “in patience possess our souls” (Luke 21:18-19). Truly, the Lords leads us to salvation in mysterious ways. The Holy Fathers unanimously agree that enduring calamities and sorrows for Christ’s sake makes the soul of a person strong, giving it “an invincible skill for patience and courage” (St. John Chrysostom. Conversation on the words of the Apostle: and not only so, but we glory in tribulations also). Moreover, the fruits of this, as the wise Paul writes, are experience, which in turn, begets hope. “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:3-5). The Nativity of Christ is a feast of this bright hope. Quiet, humble, but steadfast hope that the power of God will overcome all unrighteousness and sin. And sо, gazing upon the Divine Infant lying peacefully in the manger, we exclaim together with Blessed Augustine: “My whole hope is in Thy exceeding great mercy and that alone. Give what Thou commandest, and command what Thou wilt” (Confession. Book 10, XXIX). We all are Thine, Lord! Do with us according to Thy mercy! Glorifying Jesus Christ, who was born this day, may we be courageous and firm, relying on the grace-filled help of the Lord, abundantly sent down to us in the Sacraments of the Church. Let us rejoice, for God is with us! Let us place our trust in the Only Begotten Son of the Father, who for the sake of His great Love for us became man, so that, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Him (Rom. 5:1). I sincerely congratulate all of you, my dear ones, on the radiant feast of the Nativity. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15, 13). Amen!
Metropolitan of Singapore and South-East Asia, Patriarchal Exarch of South-East Asia
Nativity of Christ 2020/2021, Singapore