“Without Christ, we can do nothing for our profit or the peace of the world,” Metropolitan Teofan of Moldavia and Bukovina stressed in this year’s Christmas pastoral letter.
The Metropolitan lamented the oppressive atmosphere created by the war in the neighbouring country.
“The awareness that we share the suffering of those affected by war, that we belong to the same Mystical Body of Christ should fill our whole being with trembling. When one member of the body is touched by pain, all the members suffer,” Metropolitan Teofan wrote.
But the essential condition of peace is to make room for God in our hearts. So just as, by His birth, the Saviour Jesus Christ turns the earth into heaven, we too are called to turn our minds and hearts into “heaven”.
Christ’s victory over the world “is shown and lived in His Church, in the people of all times who, through God’s grace and power, come to ‘the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to a measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” the Metropolitan noted.
And one of those who have accomplished this victory of God through man is St. Paisius of Neamt.
“This year marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Saint Paisius Velichkovsky of Neamt. The Church’s hymns say that, while still on earth, he became a dweller of paradise, with Christ at the centre of his heart. From his heart, which became ‘heaven’, he also made the monasteries of Moldavia ‘an earthly heaven’.”
“The Church testifies to this great truth, that of the transformation of man’s mind and heart into ‘heaven’ because this is the centre, meaning and purpose of our life: “As in heaven, so on earth” is our daily prayer,” the Metropolitan of Moldavia and Bukovina added.
In addition to prayer, Metropolitan Teofan listed several other ways to change ourselves and the world around us.
“A deeply devoted prayer for those at war, an attitude of forgiveness and perhaps love for enemies, the edification of Christian families in which all God-given children are born, are all ways to diminish the evil in the world,” Metropolitan Teofan noted.
“Today, the Feast of the Nativity of the Lord is the holy moment of witness to our belonging to Christ’s Orthodox Church. Awareness of this belonging is presented as a fervent prayer to God that He may transform the earth as much as possible into heaven, multiplying the presence of heaven in hearts, families and peoples. Without Christ, we can do nothing for our profit or the world’s peace,” the Metropolitan added.
Photography courtesy of Doxologia.ro / Flavius Popa