Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev (1946- ) of Moscow and all the Russias
If you wish to see the translation posted on the ROCOR website, click here. It’s somewhat jingly and jangly, and it “tones down” some of His Holiness’ more trenchant points. It appears that the ROCOR apparat didn’t care for KMG’s emphasis! More on that anon, let’s hear His Holiness…
Eminent hierarchs, reverend fathers, loving monks and nuns, brothers and sisters!
In the bright and joyous celebration of the Nativity in the Flesh of the Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ, I cordially welcome all of you, my dear ones. On this luminous night, we prayerfully echo the praises of the angels, announcing good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people: for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour (Gospel According to St Luke 2.10-11). Mankind, which rejected God in the Fall, rediscovered the possibility of regaining unity with his Creator and Benefactor. The entrance of the Son of God into the world was a voluntary condescension; He was ready to submit to an excruciating shameful death, even the death of the cross (Epistle of St Paul to the Philippians 2.8). God was born in the flesh in order to reveal His love, to help people to find the fullness of life, to give this to every man who wants to hear His message.
That’s why this holiday gives us hope for help from above even in the most difficult circumstances of our lives. God hasn’t left His creation, and He’s opened the way to eternity for us, as is made manifest to us in the Christ Child, a defenceless child in need of attention and care. All of us need to keep this biblical image in our hearts. Remembering the Divine Child lying in a manger, we can find strong faith and unwavering hope in God’s Providence, leading to good for all mankind. Even if our life lacks provision, even if everything seems unsteady and uncertain, we must clearly realise that the Lord is able to transform pain through His abundant power; He can turn the suffering and misery of our world into gladness, granting us joy and an abundance of spiritual gifts.
In celebrating this holiday marking the advent of the Saviour, believers turn their mind’s eye to the cradle of Christianity, the Holy Land; the place of our Lord’s birth, abode, and earthly ministry. Today, the followers of Christ who live in the countries where the events of sacred history unfolded are going through difficult trials; they’re facing new threats to the existence of their centuries-old spiritual traditions. Let us lift up zealous prayers for our brethren in the faith, who’re the keepers of priceless relics and the descendants of the early Christian tradition during these bright days of Christmas. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it (First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 12.26). These words of the Apostle apply not only to members of a parish or a church community. Of course, they apply to all the children of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Orthodox Church, spread throughout the world. They convey our incarnate unity… not only in a single patristic faith and in communion in the sacraments, but also in feeling one another’s difficulties, in sacrificial service to one another in mutual prayer.
Last year was a difficult time in the life of many countries and peoples, including for those that live in the lands of historic Rus (исторической Руси)… many tragic accidents and disasters served as a test of our faith and fortitude. However, today, the main test lies not in the material world, but, rather, in the spiritual realm. The dangers in the physical plane damage our bodily well-being and comfort. Although they complicate the material side of life, they’re not able to cause substantial harm to the spiritual life. Nevertheless, the spiritual dimension reveals the most important and serious ideological challenges of our time. This challenge aims to destroy the moral sense embedded by God in our souls. Today, there are those who’re trying to convince people that man, and only man, is the standard of truth… that everyone has their own truth, and everyone defines what’s good, and what’s evil. They’re trying to replace Divine Truth, and the distinction between good and evil based on this Truth, with moral indifference and permissiveness, which destroys the souls of people, depriving them of eternal life. If natural disasters and wars can turn the external manifestations of life into ruins, moral relativism erodes a man’s conscience, makes him a spiritual cripple, distorts the divine laws of existence, and ravages the relationship of the Creation with the Creator.
We must confront this danger resolutely, calling for help from the Most Pure Virgin and the Assembly of All God’s Saints, that they may offer their intercession at the Throne of the Lord, Holy and True (Apocalypse of St John the Theologian 6.10), which we venerate today under the aspect of a newborn babe, to grant us the strength to fight sin, to fight against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians 6.12). It’s important for us to learn how to recognise the deceptions and mirages inherent in earthly well-being, to acknowledge our destructive passions and selfish ambitions, to discern the temptations of advertising, entertainment, and political ideologies. It’s always important to hear the voice of our conscience, warning us of the hazards of sin, to be able to coordinate our actions with the Gospel precepts. Today, as always, every Christian should verify their daily deeds against the standards of the righteous way of life, they must conscientiously resist moral relativism and the cult of quick gain. Around us, we see many frail, sick, and lonely people. Besides that, there are many who, due to economic difficulties, left home in search of work; they need help, often in unsympathetic settings. Every cleric and layman should involve themselves in carrying out social, missionary, religious, and community service. In the words of Archbishop St Innokenty Borisov of Kherson, “Only in the light of Christ can we see God, ourselves, and the world in their true form; only as directed by heavenly revelation can we find the path leading to eternal life”.
Those who desire Christ’s consolation must share the warmth and joy of this holiday. Each of us can bring the light to the Star of Bethlehem near and far… to colleagues, friends, relatives, and neighbours. In the past year, in collaboration with state authorities, public organisations, and businessmen, we launched many initiatives to bring people together, to revive the solid spiritual and moral foundations of society. Development of such cooperative collaboration, as well as to testify to the essential unity of our Church, was the purpose behind my pastoral visits in Russia, the Ukraine, and Moldova. These visits enriched my experience, through my prayer and communion with ordinary believers, and, God willing, helped to strengthen our spiritual ties. In a special way, the church services involving a multitude of people testified to the strength of faith and prayer, which is the beauty of Orthodoxy, the splendour and strength of the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians 4.3).
I give all of you my heartfelt greetings on this Christmas and New Year; I prayerfully wish that you’ll always remain in the joy of the Lord, who became incarnate, that we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Epistle of St Paul to Titus 3.7). Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost (Epistle of St Paul to the Romans 15.13).
6 January 2012
Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias
The Red Rose… the symbol of the Socialist International… “Cooperation is open to everyone”, as the old Sov poster had it, or, you can have Anders Breivik and Rick Santorum… You can have the Red Rose of cooperation or the Black Flag of Greed… it’s YOUR choice.
I believe that the ROCOR website lazily put up a “translation” from the Blunder’s aspirantura in Bolshaya Ordynka, and didn’t vet it at all. There is a major and glaring error in the ROCOR translation, and it distorts one of His Holiness’ theses to the point of outright deception. In the ROCOR translation, we read, “The past year has been difficult in the life of many countries and nations, including those who live in the expanse of historical Russia”… whereas my translation is, “Last year was a difficult time in the life of many countries and peoples, including for those that live in the lands of historic Rus”. This isn’t minor at all… it distorts what His Holiness is trying to express, not only in this epistle, but also in other recent writings of his. If he had wished to say “Russia”, he would have used the word, “Россия”, NOT “Руси”. Note well that KMG used the plural form, not the singular “Русь”, which one could take as a poetic usage for “Great Russia”. Let’s not be coy… His Holiness is speaking of the essential unity of the lands of the former Soviet Union… he’s calling for their reunion, and he’s endorsing the Eurasian Union, to build a power bloc opposed to American rightwing Neoliberal godlessness… a point opposed by extremist rightwing fanatics like Potapov and Paffhausen, and abetted by their “man” at the Centre, the Blunder… as all know, the Blunder’s a ravening zapadnik and closet Renovationist, as he covertly supports modernist creepozoids like Kochetkov, and his greasy eunuch minions attack the veneration of the martyr Yevgeni Rodionov.
This is the BIG NEWS of this letter… His Holiness testifies to the essential unity of the lands and peoples of the former Soviet space. Besides that, one can see an extremely sceptical attitude towards American-style unbridled Robber Baron capitalism… let’s look at the relevant passage again:
Nevertheless, the spiritual dimension reveals the most important and serious ideological challenges of our time. This challenge aims to destroy the moral sense embedded by God in our souls. Today, there are those who’re trying to convince people that man, and only man, is the standard of truth… that everyone has their own truth, and everyone defines what’s good, and what’s evil. They’re trying to replace Divine Truth, and the distinction between good and evil based on this Truth, with moral indifference and permissiveness, which destroys the souls of people, depriving them of eternal life. If natural disasters and wars can turn the external manifestations of life into ruins, moral relativism erodes a man’s conscience, makes him a spiritual cripple, distorts the divine laws of existence, and ravages the relationship of the Creation with the Creator.
His Holiness flings down the gauntlet in front of those who call for American-style indifference on the former Soviet space. As all grounded Orthodox Christians know, Evangelicalism is the worst form of Sectarianism (this socio-religious current DOES include such demonic counterfeits as Mormonism and Pentecostalism); it replaces Christ, who is Salvation and Truth, with “My Personal Saviour Jayzuss”, who offers a saccharine apologia for personal greed and selfish enrichment (the “Prosperity Gospel”) coupled with a rancorous semi-Calvinist view of themselves as an “elect”. This is the worst form of moral relativism, as it’s covert and insidious. All of these people reject Christ’s Truth as the Church embodies it. THEY AREN’T CHRISTIANS AT ALL AND HIS HOLINESS SAYS SO… And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (Second Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 6.15) Why should Orthodox pal around with those who are nothing but prideful and self-centred Khlysty and Molokany?
Compare His Holiness’ Christmas message to the Christmas greeting of Comrade Zyuganov (click here for the full text), who said:
We should not only be happy, but we should strive to become better, kinder, and more loving to our loved ones around us, to our neighbours, and to all who suffer. We rarely think about the special significance of the holiday, although everybody knows that a new era in history started with the birth of Christ, that is, from this great date. Just as often, we forget about the maelstrom of timeless and destructive passions that shackled mankind then, and how that changed with the appearance of the Saviour and the influence of his spiritual heroism (подвига).
Do note how the emphasis in both is almost identical, even to the choice of words! Here’s the stark choice facing American Orthodox Christians… You can follow His Holiness and Comrade Zyuganov, to march into the future with the Church and repentant Socialism, or, you can follow Paffhausen who’s an ally of the unrepentantly greedy GOP, and Potapov, who’s been the bought-and-paid-for lickspittle of forces antagonistic to the motherland (and has been for years). You can have the Red Rose of Cooperation or you can have the Black Flag of Anti-Christian Nihilism. Scary, isn’t it? Choose well, your eternal destiny DOES depend on it.
However, what disappoints is that the ROCOR didn’t take its time to issue a proper translation… it’s obvious that it was done by someone whose primary language is Russian. The usage “bumps and jolts” testify to that. Translation is a damnably difficult art form… the end is to make a version that sounds like it was originally written in the translated language. That’s the gold standard… one doesn’t (and can’t) reach it all the time, as languages represent different thought-worlds as well as different grammatical and vocabulary constructs. Yet, the ROCOR could’ve done better. Bad on them…