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Русская Версия

January 7, 2011
New York: Christmas Message of Bishop Jerome of Manhattan

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will among men.


These 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 Greek εὐδοκία [-ς ], the meaning becomes "peace on earth, among men of good will."


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 hope.


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. Amen.


With love in Christ,
Bishop of Manhattan

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese