FROM ARCHBISHOP ANTHONY
December 2, A. D. 2018
To the Most Reverend and Right Reverend Hierarchs, Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics,
and Faithful of The Orthodox Archdiocese of America (New York)
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Dear Friends in Christ,
As many of you know I am a researcher of all things Liturgical. Recently I found the propers of the Lutheran Church for the Last Sunday of Pentecost on which many churches celebrate the feast of Christ the King. The introit started out “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end…”
I thought how fitting that in the West, the end and the beginning of the Church year focus on the timelessness of Jesus Christ: “to Him belong the seasons.”
Advent is a time of Preparation and Expectation of the coming of Jesus Christ as the Pantocrator…when he will come to judge the living and the dead….the consolation prize, as it were, is Christmas. That’s right! If he doesn’t come before December 25th we commemorate his coming at Bethlehem as the God-Man. But the season before is always a serious preparation of facing the Judge of our lives at the Second Coming. This time of introspection and confession prepares us for the final accounting of our lives.
The West doesn’t have the “Nativity Fast” as the East…but we do have an Advent Fast and we should keep it, abstaining from flesh meat on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays until Christmas Day. Even Christmas Eve has traditionally seen families serve fish. I commend this Fast to you.
Finally, Christmas is a time for giving of our time and talent to the needy. Serving in a soup kitchen, sending Christmas Packages to our men and women in the Armed Forces overseas, contributing to the homeless, all these things we do as to Christ Himself.
As you hear the Words of Institution “This is my Body Given for you…” at Midnight Mass you are reminded that The Father “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have life everlasting.”
A Blessed Advent to you.
Faithfully in Christ,
Archbishop of New York
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Over the years, some have asked to have a copy of Archbishop Anthony’s Prayer. Here it is: