« Patriarchal Message on the Occasion of the Celebration of the Day of Orthodox Youth on 15th February 2018 »

Dear brothers and sisters,

I warmly greet you on the Feast of the Meeting of the Lord and the Day of Orthodox Youth.

Today the Church remembers the meeting of the Christ Child and the elder Simeon, who was ‘just and devout’ (Lk 2, 25). For many years the ancient elder had been anxiously waiting for the coming of the Saviour into the world, and God revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that the Child lying in Mary’s arms was indeed the long-awaited Messiah, Who would become for all peoples ‘a light to enlighten the Gentiles’ (Lk. 2, 32).

The Meeting of the Lord is a feast of the meeting of the soul with Christ. Certainly, the Lord acts in the life of each one of us. Immersed as we are, however, in the bustle of everyday concerns, we do not always notice His presence and his graceful help. The life of the contemporary human being, especially of one who is young, healthy and active, runs at high speed and this often prevents him from thinking about what is most important; how to fill his existence with genuine meaning and value. When a person makes a certain effort to escape from the whirlwind of cares in order to be alone with himself, to look into the depths of his soul, there occurs one of the most important events of his life - a meeting with God.

I wish for all of you, my dear ones, that, once this meeting with Christ the Saviour has taken place, it would become a state of standing before Him and serving Him for the whole of your life; for, as St Theophan the Recluse wrote, ‘we are called not only to think about this blessedness, but also to taste it in reality, for all are called to have and carry the Lord in themselves, and to disappear in Him with all the powers of their spirit’ (Sermon on the Meeting of the Lord, 1861).

I entreat the Lord Jesus that He would strengthen your hearts in faith and send down strength and His unfailing help in all your good works and undertakings.

The blessing of the Lord be upon you, through His grace and love towards mankind, always, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.