Encyclical for the Nativity of Christ 2019 by His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden
His Eminence Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden has released his Encyclical for the Nativity of Christ. Read the full text below:
Your Excellencies, Honorable government officials and civic leaders,
Dearly Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Included among the many symbolic elements found within the historical framework of Christ’s Nativity is the star that led the Magi – the three wise men from the East –, who followed it from their homeland all the way to distant Bethlehem and the home in which Christ dwelled. They traveled keeping it as their guide and entrusting it to lead their way, embarking on a truly super-human journey for that era and using all their possessions and goods to make it possible.
They undertook their journey, which led them through unhospitable and hostile lands, as well as foreign countries, without being sure of their final destination beforehand. When they finally arrived, they saw before them an ordinary family, which was not considered notable by any worldly standpoint. Nevertheless, it was upon their home that the star stood motionless, illuminating the site where the king, whose arrival had been prophesied centuries ago, was now housed.
The Wise Men’s decision to follow the star and their travels, leading up to their encounter with the newborn Christ, serves as an example for every member of contemporary society. We lead a daily existence that is far removed from the presence of Christ, but there are signs sent by God that appear in each of our lives and call our attention to this void, enlightening us to embark on our own personal journey, to encounter the newly born king.
Just like the Magi, some 2,000 years ago, so too are we called to leave behind the security and certainty of our everyday lives and follow the heavenly signs – often through challenges and our own personal struggles – and lead ourselves to meet the Christ child, so we may worship Him.
This encounter of ours with Him must bear the same results as the meeting between Him and the Wise Men – that blessed moment of worship that led to the unique result of their returning to their homeland “through another road.” So, then, are we, following our encounter with Him, obliged to not revert to our former lives and habits, and to all those things that have been distancing us from Him.
May this year’s journey to meet our Incarnate Savior – the result of our free volition to leave behind the certainties and security of our everyday life and pass through temptations and life’s difficulties, until we complete our journey and worship Him – serve as the start of a new life, which will be characterized by our desire to remain in union with Him, allow Him to lead our lives, adjust our lives to His will, transform them as a perpetual alignment to His commandments, and render our lives as a journey that starts from the personal manger of our hearts, which we will appropriately prepare to welcome Christ, and ends in His Heavenly Kingdom.
I remain with heartfelt paternal wishes for a Blessed Nativity and Happy New Year,
† Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia