Patriarch Kirill: Live Christmas with mercy, firm in faith

In his Christmas message of the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, invites the faithful entrust themselves to God’s love, which helps overcome fears. There is also a strong call to be merciful and firm in the faith, especially at a time of pandemic.

By Isabella Piro

“The joy of knowing that you are safe, because the Lord is there, close to you”: this is the meaning of Christmas enclosed in the message that the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, addresses to the faithful of the Russian Orthodox Church. In times of the Covid-19 pandemic, he explains, there is a lack of “a sense of security, protection and tranquillity”, because “a devastating scourge continues to alter daily life”, preventing humanity from making plans and making tomorrow uncertain. And it is precisely in this context that “the fragility of human existence” emerges in a particular way, accompanied by the awareness that “each new day is a priceless gift from God”. Hence the Patriarch’s exhortation to understand that “only the love of the Lord is able to strengthen us in our trials, to drive fear from our hearts and to give us the strength to do good works”.

For this reason, Patriarch Kirill encourages the faithful to live Christmas with mercy and remaining firm in the faith, ready to abandon themselves to God’s love, “hoping and trusting firmly in Him”, the only one able to help us “overcome difficulties”. The model to look to, continues the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, is that of the Virgin Mary, who gave birth to her Son in a humble manger, but allowed her heart to be filled with the Lord’s love. “This love,” reads the message, “transformed everything around her, and the Blessed Virgin did not notice the hardships or the great poverty” in which the birth took place. On the contrary, the people of our time, during the lockdown imposed by the pandemic, have perceived their homes “as a prison and have sunk into sadness”.

Let no one be excluded from the joy of Christmas

The Patriarch expresses the hope that Christmas will “be an opportunity to shake from our souls the chains of fear and mistrust, anxiety and despair” by listening to the voice of the Son of God, who came into the world for the salvation of all those who are “tired and oppressed”. The birth of Jesus is a joy from which no one is excluded, the Russian Patriarch concluded, wishing the faithful “health of soul and body, joy of spirit and the strength to advance on the path of salvation”. It should be remembered that for Churches that follow the Julian calendar, such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the Lord’s Christmas will be celebrated on 7 January 2022.