Archbishop’s Message for the New Year

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

On the beautiful and auspicious occasion of our entry into the New Year 2016, please accept our warmest wishes. Let Lord Jesus Christ who is the Leader and Master of this New Year as well provide peace and His blessing to all of us, young and old. Every New Year provides something new, something original, optimistic and hopeful to man ‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth’ (Apoc. 21:2).

A new year is given to us by the love of God. Our Lord invites us all in a campaign of love, humanity and concord amongst ourselves and our fellow human beings. Getting strength and love from His immense love, let us embrace our fellow human beings. Let us all agree existentially that we are all bothers under His fatherly love. Let us all enjoy and savour the inner joy, peace and tranquillity with which we are graced by the presence and blessing of God. Within the life of the Church we can be reborn and enjoy spiritual fulfilment and the completion that we persistently but vainly seek in impassable and harmful paths for our soul. St Gregory of Nyssa said that human nature is ‘the most honoured in all visible creation’. God has endowed man with the wish for virtue, immortality and justice (On the Construction of Man).

During the recent years, we have intensely lived the drama of many of our fellow human beings. The moral and financial crisis continues. People, families and society, not just ours, are subjected to cruel trial. The consequences of religious fanaticism and bigotry are tragic and catastrophic. The children of the refugees and of the Third World countries are decimated by destitution and disease, leading them to a premature death.

Today, apart from New Year’s Day, we are also celebrating Jesus Christ’s circumcision in human body, a feast which reveals His divine love and condescension. ‘Condescending on the race of men, the Saviour did not forsake circumcision’ (Hymn of the Feast). Also today, we are celebrating the memory of Basil the Great who ‘urged the coexistence of all creatures with God’ (Hymn of the feast). Let me stress that faith in the Triune God, prayer and frequent churchgoing comprise the fundamental existential component of our Christian identity.

The protection and respect towards the institution of the Family and love for Education and Church are necessary for the preservation and propagation of the Orthodox Christian Spirit and Tradition.

Let the New Year, beloved brothers and children in the Lord, the niche for us to escape from the sinful gaol of our selfishness. Let it be the beginning of our surpassing our individuality and walking the same path along with our brethren. Jesus Christ, the God who became Man, will provide the hope for the brotherhood of the peoples, the bestowal of honour and respect to human life. With the advent of the new year, let us wish for the clash of weapons and the din of the battle to cease in the Middle East and for the ‘peace across the entire world’ to prevail (St. Chryst.).

Looking forward to an optimistic future, dearly beloved in the Lord, let us continue our lives with optimism and courage and let us renew our hope to God for a better society in which peace, mutual respect, fraternity, and love and faith in the Lord will prevail. Only God is our true support, our only hope that provides us with clarity, apathy, serenity and alienation from every evil and reinforces ‘being in resemblance of’ our Creator (On the Construction of Man). This is the message and motto for the year 2016.

Wishing you a blessed and peaceful new year with health, happiness, progress in your lives and the blessing of our Saviour Jesus Christ who was born in Bethlehem in Judea, I remain in the Lord’s love and honour.

January 2016

Archbishop Gregorios

of Thyateira and Great Britain

New Year – Archbishop – English
New Year – Archbishop – Greek



Αγαπητοί μας εν Κυρίω,

Με την ωραία και σημαδιακή είσοδο μας στο Νέο Έτος 2016, να δεχτείτε τις πιο θερμές μου ευχές. Ο Δεσπότης Χριστός που είναι Αρχηγός και Κύριος και τούτου του χρόνου να χαρίσει την ειρήνη και την ευλογία Του σε όλους μας μικρούς και μεγάλους. Κάθε νέος χρόνος προσφέρει κάτι νέο, κάτι καινούργιο, αισιόδοξο και ελπιδοφόρο στον άνθρωπο. «Και είδον ουρανόν καινόν και γην καινήν». (Αποκ. 21,2)

Ένα καινούργιο έτος μας χαρίζει η αγάπη του Θεού. Ο Κύριος μας, μας προσκαλεί όλους σε μια εκστρατεία αγάπης, ανθρωπιάς και ομόνοιας μεταξύ μας και με τους συνανθρώπους μας. Παίρνοντας δύναμη και αγάπη από τη δική Του απέραντη αγάπη να αγκαλιάσουμε τους συνανθρώπους μας. Να παραδεχτούμε υπαρξιακά πως είμαστε όλοι αδέρφια κάτω από την πατρική Του αγάπη. Να απολαύσουμε και να νιώσουμε την εσωτερική χαρά, την ειρήνη και τη γαλήνη, με την οποία μας χαριτώνει η παρουσία και η ευλογία του Θεού. Μέσα στη ζωή της Εκκλησίας, μπορούμε να ξαναγεννηθούμε και να απολαύσουμε την ψυχική πληρότητα και την ολοκλήρωση που επίμονα και μάταια αναζητούμε σε αδιέξοδα και επιβλαβείς για την ψυχή μας κατευθύνσεις. Ο Άγιος Γρηγόριος ο Νύσσης μας λέγει πως η ανθρώπινη φύση είναι η «τιμιωτέρα πάσης της φαινομένης κτίσεως». Ο Θεός έχει προικίσει τον άνθρωπο με την επιθυμία για την αρετή, την αθανασία και την δικαιοσύνη (Περί κατασκευής του ανθρώπου).

Τα τελευταία χρόνια ζούμε έντονα το δράμα πολλών συνανθρώπων μας. Η ηθική και οικονομική κρίση συνεχίζεται. Οι άνθρωποι, οι οικογένειες και η κοινωνία όχι μόνο η δική μας, δοκιμάζονται σκληρά. Οι συνέπειες του θρησκευτικού φανατισμού και της μισαλλοδοξίας είναι τραγικές και καταστροφικές. Τα παιδιά των προσφύγων και των χωρών του τρίτου κόσμου μαστίζονται από την ανέχεια και τις ασθένειες και οδηγούνται πρόωρα στον θάνατο.

Σήμερα, εκτός από την Πρωτοχρονιά, γιορτάζουμε την κατά σάρκα περιτομή του Χριστού, η οποία εορτή αποκαλύπτει την θείαν αγάπη και συγκατάβαση Του. «Συγκαταβαίνων ο Σωτήρ τω γένει των ανθρώπων ουκ εβδελύξατο σαρκός την περιτομήν» (Ύμνος της εορτής). Επίσης, σήμερα τιμούμε την μνήμη του Μ. Βασιλείου ο οποίος «πάντων των όντων την προς Θεόν προκρίνας συμβίωσιν» (Ύμνος της εορτής). Να τονίσω πως η πίστη στον εν Τριάδι Θεό, η προσευχή και ο τακτικός εκκλησιασμός αποτελούν βασικό υπαρξιακό συστατικό της χριστιανικής μας ιδιότητας.

Η προστασία και ο σεβασμός προς τον θεσμό της Οικογένειας και η αγάπη για την Παιδεία και την Εκκλησία είναι απαραίτητα για την διατήρηση και τη διαιώνιση του Ορθόδοξου Χριστιανικού Πνεύματος και της Παράδοσής μας.

Ας αποτελέσει ο νέος χρόνος, αδελφοί και τέκνα εν Κυρίω αγαπητά, το εφαλτήριο για να ξεφύγουμε από την αμαρτωλή φυλακή του εγωισμού μας. Ας αποτελέσει την απαρχή, ώστε να υπερβούμε την ατομικότητά μας και να συνοδοιπορήσουμε με τον αδελφό μας. Ο Θεάνθρωπος Χριστός θα μας δώσει την ελπίδα για τη συναδέλφωση των λαών, την απόδοση τιμής και σεβασμού στην ανθρώπινη ζωή. Με την έλευση του νέου χρόνου ας ευχηθούμε να σιγήσουν οι κλαγγές των όπλων και ο ορυμαγδός του πολέμου στη Μέση Ανατολή και να πρυτανεύσει η «ειρήνη του σύμπαντος κόσμου» (Θ.Λειτ. Ιω.Χρ.).

Οραματιζόμενοι ένα αισιόδοξο μέλλον, αγαπητοί εν Κυρίω, ας συνεχίσουμε τη ζωή μας με αισιοδοξία και θάρρος και ας ανανεώσουμε την ελπίδα μας στον Θεό για μια καλύτερη κοινωνία, στην οποία θα κυριαρχεί η ειρήνη, ο αλληλοσεβασμός, η αδελφοσύνη, η αγάπη και η πίστη στον Θεό. Μόνο ο Θεός είναι το πραγματικό μας στήριγμα, η μόνη ελπίδα που μας χαρίζει καθαρότητα, απάθεια, μακαριότητα, αλλοτρίωση από κάθε κακό και ενισχύει το «καθ’ ομοίωσιν» με τον Δημιουργό μας. (Περί κατασκευής του ανθρώπου). Αυτό ας είναι το σύνθημα και το μήνυμα της χρονιάς 2016.

Ευχόμενος ευλογημένη και ειρηνική τη νέα χρονιά με υγεία, ευτυχία, πρόοδο εις την ζωή σας και την ευλογία του εν Βηθλεέμ της Ιουδαίας Γεννηθέντος Σωτήρος ημών Ιησού Χριστού, διατελώ μετά της εν Κυρίω αγάπης και τιμής.

Ιανουάριος 2016

Ο Αρχιεπίσκοπος Θυατείρων και

Μεγάλης Βρετανίας Γρηγόριος

New Year – Archbishop – English
New Year – Archbishop – Greek

Christmas Message from Bartholomew – Ecumenical Patriarch


By God’s Mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the plenitude of the Church
Grace, mercy and peace from the newborn Savior Christ in Bethlehem

Beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord,

The sweetness of the holy night of Christmas once again embraces the world. In the midst of human toil and suffering, crisis and challenge, greed and hatred, anxiety and despair, the mystery of the divine incarnation presents the same charm as a truly tangible and ever contemporary reality, urging “the inhabitants of the world to learn righteousness” (cf. Is. 26:9), for “today our Savior is born” (Luke 2:11).

Unfortunately, however, in our age, many people think like Herod, that illicit and utter slayer of children, annihilating their fellow human beings in manifold ways. When Herod’s self-centeredness distorted his mind as an earthly leader, he was paradoxically threatened by the birth of an innocent Child. Therefore, Herod chose the annihilation of the Child as the most appropriate way of protecting his earthly power.

To escape his murderous intentions, the Infant Jesus, about whom the angels spoke, was forced to flee to Egypt, becoming (as we might say in today’s terminology) a “political refugee,” together with Mary, his most-holy mother and Theotokos, as well as the righteous Joseph.

In our time, which is considered a time of progress, many children are forced to flee as refugees with their parents in order to save their lives, which are undermined by diverse enemies. This is truly a disgrace for the entire human race.

For this reason, on the occasion of the nativity of the Child Jesus, our genuine Redeemer and Savior, we proclaim from the most-holy Apostolic, Patriarchal and Ecumenical Throne that every society must guarantee the safe development of children and respect their right to life, education and normal upbringing, which may be secured by their nurture and formation within the context of the traditional family, based on the principles of love, compassion, peace and solidarity, which are gifts offered to us today by the incarnate Lord.

The newborn Savior invites everyone to receive this message of salvation for all people. It is true that, in the long course of human history, people experienced many migrations and settlements. Yet we would have hoped that, after two world wars as well as numerous proclamations for peace by church and political leaders and institutions, modern societies would be able to secure the peaceful coexistence of people in their own lands. Unfortunately events have shown otherwise and shattered our hopes, because huge masses are today obliged to set out on a bitter road as refugees in the face of annihilation.

This ever-escalating situation, with the constantly swelling wave of refugees, increases the responsibility of those of us who are still blessed to live in peace and some comfort, in order not to remain insensitive to the daily drama of thousands of our fellow human beings. Instead, we are called to express our practical solidarity and love, knowing that every gesture of love toward them is ultimately attributed to the newborn and incarnate Son of God, who came to the world neither as king and ruler, nor as tyrant or aristocrat, but rather as a naked and defenseless Infant in a tiny manger, homeless like many thousands of people at this very moment, and forced from his earliest years to migrate to a distant land in order to survive the hatred of Herod. The innocent blood of today’s refugee infants spills onto the earth and into the sea, while Herod’s insecure soul “bears the guilt.”

This divine Infant, born in Bethlehem and headed to Egypt, is the authentic guardian of today’s refugees, who are persecuted by modern-day Herods. This Child Jesus, our God, “became weak to the weak” (cf. 1 Cor. 9:22), in every way becoming like us who are weak, wearied, at risk, as refugees. Our support and assistance to the persecuted and displaced, irrespective of race, ethnicity and religion, resembles the most precious gifts of the wise men to the newborn Lord, like the invaluable treasures of “gold and frankincense and myrrh” (cf. Matt. 2:11), an inviolable and permanent spiritual wealth that remains incorrupt to the ages and awaits us in the heavenly kingdom.

Let each of us offer whatever we can to our refugee brothers and sisters, in whom we see the person of Jesus Christ. Let us offer the precious gifts of love, sacrifice and compassion to the small Child Christ born in Bethlehem, imitating his tender mercy. And let us worship him with the angels, the wise men and the simple shepherds, as we cry out “glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill to all people” (Luke 2:14), together with all the saints.

May the grace and abundant mercy of the refugee Infant Jesus be with you all!

Christmas 2015

Your Fervent Supplicant before God

Message in Greek
Message in English