In the Divine Liturgy, and also in every holy Service of our Church, the most frequent prayer we hear to God is Lord, have mercy. Every petition offered by the celebrant, whether it is at the start of the Divine Liturgy, the Vespers, Matins, or all Services, ends with the words ...let us pray to the Lord”- and the people respond with Lord, have mercy.Where the Sacred Mysteries are offered, this is done. It is the same with the other petitions, which begin with We also pray for…” The people respond with Lord, have mercy,sometimes only once, but it can be three times, twelve times, or even forty times! 

Christ is the true Light” (see John 1:9). Those who believe in Him and are members of His One Holy Church, receive His light. This is how Christians themselves become light, by reflecting the light of Christ that is within. They cannot keep it to themselves or hide it! The Lord said, "You are the light of the world..." (Matthew 5:14). Christ's mission for Christians is for them to spread His light to others.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is Light. However, He does not confine His Light to Himself. As the God-inspired Evangelist John proclaims, The Word [Christ] is the true Light as He comes to the world gives light to every man” (Cf. John 1:9). As the sun when it rises fills with light all those who receive its bright rays, so does Christ, the Sun of righteousness”, as the Christmas Dismissal hymn calls Him, enlightens spiritually every man who will desire to receive His life-giving rays.

In the Divine Liturgy and other Holy Services, we call our Lord Jesus Christ Light or true Light. This can be seen in the hymn of the Divine Liturgy after Holy Communion, “We have seen the true light…”, or in the 2nd Article of the Confession of Faith, “I believe…and in one Lord, Jesus Christ…Light of Light…” These concepts and many more like them have become part of the Divine Liturgy, and they have their origins in Holy Scripture.

Prot. No. 751

PATRIARCHAL PROCLAMATION
FOR CHRISTMAS

X B A R T H O L O M E W

BY GOD’S MERCY ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE-NEW ROME AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH

TO THE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH

GRACE, MERCY AND PEACE

FROM THE SAVIOR CHRIST BORN IN BETHLEHEM

* * *

Most venerable brothers in Christ and beloved children,

          As we journey with the All-Holy Virgin, who comes “to give birth ineffably” to the pre-eternal Word, and as we gaze upon Bethlehem, which prepares itself to receive the holy infant, behold we have once more reached Christmas filled with sentiments of gratitude to the God of love. The journey to this great feast of the nativity in the flesh of the world’s Savior was different this year with regard to the outward conditions, resulting from the current pandemic. Our church life and the participation of our faithful in the sacred services, as well as the church’s pastoral care and good witness in the world were all affected by the repercussions of the related health restrictions. However, all this does not affect the innermost relationship of the faithful with Christ or of our faith in His providence and our devotion to “the one thing that is necessary.”[1]

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