January 7, 2011
New York: Christmas Message of Bishop Jerome of
Glory to God in
and on earth peace, good will among men.
are the words we sing, but the same doxology has a another, variant
reading, met with in some Greek texts and carried over into the
Latin "Gloria in excelsis:" adding a final letter sigma to
], the meaning becomes "peace on earth, among men of good
In other words, we
sing of the peace that comes to us, if we are "of good will."
Indeed, our Orthodox
worship suggests that we need peace above all: "In
peace let us pray to the Lord," "For the
peace from above," "For
the peace of the whole
world," "Peace be unto
all," and "Let us depart in peace." Most of all, we need this divine
peace, since what usually prevails in this world is just the
opposite: confusion, troubles, grief, enmity, hatred; "the uprising
of nations and civil war." Peace, tranquility and consolation –
these are what we must always pray for.
But to obtain what we
ask, we must be "of good will!"
And what does it mean
to be "people of good will?"
St. Paul writes,
"Charity envieth not, charity behaveth not unseemly, vaunteth not
itself, thinketh no evil, rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth
in the truth; believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
things” (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Hatred, on the other hand, does just the
opposite: whoever is filled with hate, envies, acts unseemingly,
thinks evil, gloats in others’ misfortune, and although hate too may
"believe all things" (against its objects!), it lacks patience and
From this we can see
that the man of good will is filled with love for God and
neighbor, has faith in all of God’s promises, and therefore enjoys
hope, consolation, and the fullness of peace in this life.
We become people of
good will, if we live a Christian life, the life of the Church.
Therefore it is most important for us to be active in church life,
to be constant in prayer, to participate in church worship, to
confess our sins and receive Holy Communion, and do all that we can
to cooperate with and support our Orthodox Church, both in these
holy days, and all the days of our life.
With love in Christ,
Media Office of the Eastern American