JERUSALEM – Please find below the Christmas message of the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches.
Christmas Message of the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!” Luke 2.14
We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, bring you Christmas greetings in the name of the Newborn King, the Prince of Peace, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Christmas is the time when we celebrate the Nativity of the Word made Flesh who dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. Jesus Christ took the form of humanity in order to bring about the salvation and redemption of the whole world. Jesus’ salvific work was to transform the whole world into the truth of His salvation. God’s salvation for the world through the Incarnation of the Word means wholeness and fullness in the Kingdom of God.
The world we live in encounters sin in different forms that affect our humanity in relation to God, one another, and the rest of creation. War and injustice, estrangement and oppression, destruction and over-consumption, are some forms of sin and evil that enslave our humanity. The celebration of the birth of Christ is a constant reminder of the redemption that God has granted us by transforming all forms of evil and sin into wholeness and fullness of life.
As a human person, Jesus experienced our humanity so that we might be transformed into His likeness. Jesus himself experienced homelessness, being a refugee. He also faced threats and ultimately death. However, the heavenly message of peace, joy, and love was louder than any other voice. Jesus’ birth brought hope and life to the people. The name of Jesus offers salvation and newness of life.
In light of all human realities, we pray that this holy season of Christmas will bring justice to all people. We also offer our support and prayers for the Christian presence in the Middle East. We pray with all people throughout the world, particularly our people of the Holy Land and the wider Middle East, that this Christmas will bring joyful news of peace, justice, and reconciliation to all nations. May the Prince of Peace transform the evil and sin in our world into light and wholeness of life.
At the birth of Jesus, angels proclaimed peace to the world. We worship Him now with joy, and we pray with hearts full of faith: “May your birth bring peace to all!” Amen.
Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem (Christmas 2019)
+Patriarch Theophilos III, Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
+Patriarch Nourhan Manougian, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Apostolic Administrator, Latin Patriarchate
+Fr. Francesco Patton, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
+Archbishop Anba Antonious, Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem
+Vicar General Father Gabriel Daho, Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Aba Embakob, Ethiopian Orthodox Patriarchate
+Archbishop Yaser AL-Ayash, Greek-Melkite-Catholic Patriarchate
+Archbishop Mosa El-Hage, Maronite Patriarchal Exarchate
+Archbishop Suheil Dawani, Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East
+Bishop Ibrahim Sani Azar, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land
+Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate
+Most Rev. Krikor-Okosdinos Coussa, Armenian Catholic Patriarchal Exarchate