Word Magazine December 1973 Page 3-4
METROPOLITAN PHILIP’S CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
“God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form. You might say landed in disquise.” C. S. LEWIS
Beloved Clergy, Archdiocesan Trustees, Parish Councils and Faithful of our Archdiocese:
Blessings and peace to you and your children in the spirit of this Holy Christmas Season.
Last year, while we were preparing for the Nativity of the Prince of Peace, our young people were dying in the jungles of Southeast Asia and our planes were raining terror and destruction on North Vietnam. We prayed fervently for an end to that bloody war which plagued our nation for years. God listened to our prayers; the war ended and the President of the United States promised us a “generation of peace.”
Less than a year has elapsed since the end of the Viet Nam War. Unfortunately the “generation of peace” proved to be wishful thinking and an empty promise. Last October another war broke out in the Middle East and our dreams of a “generation of peace” were broken on the sand of Sinai and on the rocks of the Golan Heights. Instead of helping the oppressed, according to the traditions of the American Revolution, we shipped millions of tons of arms to the oppressors to help them continue their occupation of Arab land and bomb economic centers and civilian quarters destroying properties and killing thousands of innocent people.
On October 22, and on behalf of those victims of aggression, especially in Syria, we started a financial campaign to raise funds to help alleviate some of the suffering of our wounded brethren in Damascus, Homs, Tartous and other Arab cities and villages. We have purposely delayed our trip to the Middle East until we finish this campaign so that we may carry personally your offerings to the proper authorities. Our goal is to raise $200,000 by the end of December. We ask you, therefore, to intensify your efforts and contribute generously to this noble cause. Our people in the Middle East, in their struggle for freedom and justice, have sacrificed their lives. Can you sacrifice some of your money, in the Christmas spirit, to help feed their hungry children?
Beloved in Christ:
C. S. Lewis said: “God has landed on this enemy-occupied world in human form.” Surely, he assumed all our human nature except sin to prove to us that our enemies can be conquered. Our enemies are: hatred, injustice, oppression, aggression, falsehood, selfishness and war.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” EPHESIANS 6: 12.
As we prepare ourselves spiritually for the miraculous birth of Christ, let us open our hearts to help our needy brethren in the Middle East and beseech the “Prince of Peace” to restore honesty, dignity and justice to our nation and bring a lasting peace to this troubled world. I.
“He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” ISAIAH 2:4.
May this Holy Christmas and the New Year bring to you and to the entire world a great measure of love and heavenly peace.
Yours in the Incarnate Word,
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese I.
of New York and all North America. Christmas, 1973 L