of the Archbishop of Chicago and Mid-America
Today the Vigin cometh to give birth ineffably to the Preeternal Word in the cave. Dance, O world! And having heard this, with the angels and shepherds glorify the preeternal God, Who is to appear as a little babe. (Kontakion of the Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ)
The Lord of all Creation becomes a man while remaining God. He Who rules the universe is incarnate in time while remaining on a fiery throne in the Heavens. All for the love of fallen mankind.
We can not and should not avoid reflecting on these lofty theological thoughts at this time of year, when we worship the newborn Christ Child coming into His world not with trumpets, fanfare, and worldly splendor, but born humbly in a cave used for the protection of animals from the elements.
This birth – this incarnation – took place in a specific place. A place we, as Orthodox Christians, take for granted all too often. The Holy Land – the land of our merciful Lord’s birth – is for us mostly thought of as place of pilgrimage. We hope to visit there at least once in our lifetime. Not very many Christians remain living in the Holy Land, and thus the support of our many Russian Orthodox properties in the Holy Land more and more depends upon pilgrims and benefactors rather than the local population.
During this time of the pandemic it is essentially impossible for pilgrims to visit the Holy Land – at least not in numbers that can materially support the monks and nuns living and serving there. And thus, on this day of the Nativity of our Lord, who was born for our salvation in this very Holy Land, I turn to you as parishioners of the Mid-American diocese and ask, just as you find a place in your heart for the newborn Christ, to also find a small place in your budget to send a donation to our diocesan collection for those laboring on our behalf in the land of our Lord’s birth. Having served in the Russian Ecclesiastical Mission there as the Chief of the Mission I can say from personal experience: your help is always needed, and even more so in these difficult pandemic days.
May the Lord reward you in this life and the next for your support of His Church, specifically in this case: for your support for those who labor for your good in the Land of His miraculous birth!
Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Please send you donations to:
Diocese of Chicago & Mid-America Holy Land Nativity Collection
P.O. Box 1367
Des Plaines, IL 60017