Τρίτη, 1 Ιανουαρίου 2013

CHRISTIANITY – DEMOCRACY – HEALTHY SOCIETY



NEW YEAR’S ENCYCLICAL 2013

by Metropolitan Sotirios

   When Christian teachings were united with the principles of Ancient Greek Democracy, this twinning produced the very best and the most productive societies in all of human history.  These  societies are considered to be paradigms of good government in which the unique Christian teachings and principles of the Bible prevailed. Principles such as:  respect for human rights;  freedom and the equality before the law of every citizen; the care of each citizen by the state, more commonly known as social welfare; and contemplating the future with optimism, confidence and hope.
   In most of the Western democracies today, most of these principles mentioned above still exist and are put into practice. Unfortunately, some of these principles are allowed to fade away and others are deliberately derailed and cast off as irrelevant. The worst and most recent example is the massacre of children that took place in Connecticut, USA last month. If this tragedy was only one isolated event, there would be no need for great concern. Unfortunately, it is the tenth such tragedy with human carnage and loss of life in the U.S.A. in 2012 alone. That says a lot and we must seriously contemplate why and how things have gotten so far off track.
    The answer is obvious and crystal clear.  Unfortunately, countries that could once be characterized as being Christian can only be called Christian today in name only. They have abandoned Christ. They have stopped being guided and enlightened by faith in Christ and by His teachings. The examples are many that can be mentioned. We will only mention two: abortion and same-sex marriages.
   We have abandoned Christ and live in the jungle of terrorism, where we practice "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", seeking revenge for any perceived slight.  We live in a society that resembles more a jungle, as we saw recently in the mayhem of Connecticut and the fear of a terrorist mob.
   What needs to be done? The answer is a return:  a return in repentance back to Christ.  A return back to the principles of a healthy democracy.  A return back to our Christian teachings and principles without further delay. 
   How are we to understand such a return? It means a return and an acceptance of the basic teachings of our Orthodox Christian faith.  It means to once again embrace and accept the teaching and the belief in the Triune God, revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.   It means faith in and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Messiah, who is True God and True Man, the only Saviour and Redeemer of the world. It means to cultivate a faith energized and manifested by good works. It means sincere repentance. It means the application of forgiveness by both parties. In other words, this means requesting forgiveness and freely granting forgiveness of offences to others.  It means properly treating one’s neighbour with respect and dignity, whoever this person may be.
   Let the mighty ones and the rulers of the earth set aside their false crocodile tears and honestly return back to Christ. They should not only be ministers that serve the interests of their constituents, but above all, they should be the example for them to imitate. 
   Beloved Christians: on this first day of the New Year of 2013,  I invite all of you, as well as myself - in humility, sincerity and repentance – to return back to Christ. When we abandon Christ, it is not He who is affected by this, but it is we who are hurt and affected.  He has no need whatsoever of anything from us – it is we who need Him!   Let us take the bold decision to return back to Christ, so that we may not find ourselves living in the chaos and the fear of the law of the jungle, where the motto of life is "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", just as we saw with the horror of the massacre of innocent school children in Connecticut. Let us return sincerely to Christ so that we shall not see and live through worse nightmares. I pray for all of you daily.  Pray for me as well.  I wholeheartedly pray that the New Year for all of you may be successful, with good health, progress and prosperity, blessed by God. May this New Year see all of us return back to Christ! 

With fatherly love and warm wishes,
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios of Toronto (Canada)

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