IRINEOS I, Patriarch of Jerusalem // Article (Encyclical?)

Interesting article (Encyclical?) taken, sans permission, from Patriarch Irineos 1st website [external link].  Also an interesting article from the Jerusalem Post, undoubtedly written by a Jew so take it with a grain of salt, if you will.  I'm still not entirely sure what to make of this but I wanted to post it here before it disappears for good.  (P.S. the Jerusalem Post article mentioned is from 2011.)


Patriarch by the Mercy of God, of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
All Palestine, Syria of Arabia,
Beyond the Jordan, Cana of Galilee and Holy Sion

Beloved children in the Lord,

Grace and peace be to you from God Almighty. Again the joyful day rises of
the great and Holy Christmas. And again an opportunity is given to us to
communicate spiritually, during which we send a warm greeting of Christ who
is born, and we bestow Our Patriarchal blessing.
Come therefore, to venerate and fall down before Christ and to enjoy the
unspeakable miracle of the divine incarnation. We journey together with the
shepards to Bethlehem and we find the Son of the Most High laying in a
manger. We reverently stand before the Sacred Cave, in which hospitality was
offered to the King of Creation and we recall the infinite love of God and His
extreme condensation and humility.
Humanity awaited nervously His arrival. The Prophets spoke of this. The most
loud-voiced Prophet Isaiah, writing concerning the Messiah, said: “For a child
will be born to us, a son will be given to us”. The words of Angels expressed to
Joseph the betrothed, the universal anticipation and mission of saving the
world of Christ the Savior: “A son will be born and you will call his name Jesus.
For he will save his people from their sins”. (Math. 1, 21)
The joy of Christmas is an issue for all people, because God wants all people to be saved and to come to the
knowledge of the truth. Under the cheerful light of the Star, all unfortunate things draw back, which overshadow the
soul of a person; suffering, sighing, and the bitterness of injustice and of mourning. The tear upon the eyelid
becomes a pearl. Pain is transformed to an educator, which guides the steps, there where the Son of God does not
have a place to lay his head. From a Manger arises universal hope. Unfortunate are they who have not yet
recognized the light and turn to replacements of joy, in order to satisfy the empty desires of their hearts. The Eternal
One came to earth and transformed our transience. We have an eternal destination and from the ephemeral we go
on to eternity. Faith in Christ gives wings to the soul, fortifies the weak person, and instills comfort into the suffering
heart, as spring caresses with daybreak our foreheads. We are so small, poor, and fragile, as the reed in the
dessert. Together with Christ we make strong roots, the winds and storms do not make us afraid, and we become an
unconquerable tower.
“For a child will be born to us”. In a Manger, Love is wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and since “God is Love” (1 John:
4, 8), humanity is flooded with this great blessing, which is taught for the first time. “God was shown in the flesh”
(1Tim. 3:16), in order for us to know and believe in Him. The light of the world came, so that we may walk in the light
and know the truth “and the truth will set us free” (John 8:32).
This being said, it is not necessary for us to expound on how much the world has distanced itself from the spirit of
Bethlehem. Pain, need, and misfortune have not yet been allowed to be conquered, irregardless of the wondrous
bounds of contemporary science and culture. Much-desired peace remains unthinkable and the specter of war did
not cease to be misguided over humanity, while sin vastly shows its insolent and impudent head. Evil has
unfortunately abounded in our time, justice strangled; truth is portioned and twisted, even in the bosom of the most-
holy Church of Christ. The position of a person is tragic and lamentable. A great effort will be needed for the re-
evangelizing of the Christians, and also the restoration of its terribly tried validity, by attempts and acts of people of
the respectable and historical Patriarchate of Jerusalem who don’t follow the way of the star of Bethlehem.
We suffer upon confirming that peace and God’s justice have not reigned in the earth and even more so amongst
the order of people where there should be one heart through love in Christ. However we study and are watchful that
Christ may be formed in our hearts, because only through Him may reign peace, and reconciliation between
Peoples, respect and love in the relations between persons, as well as the much-desired unity and calmness within
His Church. The shadows and the surges will reside, as all come and go. Only Christ will remain forever, because
“Jesus Christ was yesterday, is today, and will be throughout time” (Hebr. 13, 8). During this sacred time, of the
celebration of the great and light-filled feast of Christmas, we call the misguided ones “to come to the understanding
of truth” and considering the size of their sin, to abandon the road of loss and illegality and to follow the way of the
star of Bethlehem, joining with all of us, Our beloved spiritual children, as pilgrims of the Divine Infant in simplicity,
humility, and repentance, to the glory of Christ the Born King, and the annihilation of evil.
Upon this, embracing all of you in fatherly love, invoking richly the Grace of the incarnate God, and the joy that
springs forth from the Cave that received God, and We remain,
With fervent prayers to the Lord

Patriarch of Jerusalem

From the Cave that received God in the Holy City of Bethlehem

Patriarch by the Mercy of God, of the Holy City of Jerusalem,
All Palestine, Syria of Arabia,
Beyond the Jordan, Cana of Galilee and Holy Sion

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