Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Only True God

2015 Encyclical For the Nativity of Our Lord
* * * * * * *
To the Reverend Fathers,
Honourable Presidents and
Esteemed members of the Community Councils,
Philoptochos Societies, Teachers, Students and
Youth of our Communities,
And the entire Plenitude of our
Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada)

The Only True God

By Metropolitan Sotirios
In ancient times, the Greeks were recognized as being a most intelligent, ingenious and civilized people who believed in the twelve gods of Mount Olympus. They fashioned these gods as figments of their own imagination according to human criteria and this is why they were imbued with human frailties and passions. They are depicted in the Greek Myths with various human passions, such as anger, jealousy, rage, and strife amongst themselves.
The Jews believed in the existence of one God. In the Old Testament, He is also portrayed as not being entirely free from passions.
Then came Jesus Christ, born as a man and raised as a Jew, but also being God. He is both God and man: Theanthropos! He came to teach humanity about His Father the One True God, since He is True God. His most characteristic teaching is absolute love for He said: “love one another” and “love your enemies”. Christianity is the second monotheistic religion after Judaism.
After the establishment of Christianity, a third monotheistic religion followed which was Islam. If one carefully studies the teachings and doctrines of this religion, you will find that its teachings are more in line with a socio-political system and much less a religion. It ignores the teaching of absolute love taught by Jesus Christ and instead teaches that its doctrines should be enforced on people even by force and coercive measures. It forgets that the essential gift that man is imbued with is his God-given freedom.
These are the three main monotheistic religions in the world today. The adherents of all three faiths together, make up more than half the world’s population.
There exist other non-monotheistic religions in the world as well. It is estimated that in the world today, there are more than four thousand religions and denominations.
Amongst all these different religions and faiths that often are at odds with each other, everyone is asked to choose the right one. Many people are scandalized by the existence of so many religions and doctrines that often contradict one other. These people reject all of them and instead resort to atheism. The responsibility for their choice in abandoning all religion and espousing atheism is their own, but not entirely theirs alone. All religions are to blame, but especially the monotheistic religions. That there are many gods, does not seem probable or plausible for anyone.
There is only one true God. This is taught by all of the three monotheistic religions. Unfortunately, these monotheistic religions have different understandings and teachings about this one true God.
Since there is only one true God, therefore by extension, there can be only one legitimate truth. It is the duty and task of the three monotheistic religions to present the one and true God as He is, and to correctly teach this truth to those who seek Him.
The God of Christianity is the one True God because He Himself chose to be known, and He revealed Himself in the God-man Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the long-awaited Messiah who was expected by both the Jews and the Muslims. Unfortunately, they did not recognize or accept Him, and they still are waiting for their messiah. Jesus Christ is the only Redeemer and Savior of the world. He died on the Cross as man. He was raised from the dead and ascended to the heavens, bearing our human nature. He glorified this human nature which He took from the Virgin Mary, and He enthroned it at the right hand of the Father, thereby making it possible for all humanity to return again to Paradise. He is the Way, the Life and the Truth incarnate, who teaches the Truth to those who seek it. He respects the freedom given to all people to make their own choice. His unique teachings are these: “love one another”; “love your enemies”; and “do unto others, that which you want others to do unto you”. These are all positive teachings and not negative.
The Birth of Jesus Christ who is true God and true man; the True Messiah; the only Redeemer and Savior of the world – invites all to worship Him as God, to do His will, and to accept Him as their own personal Lord and Savior. He invites all non-Christians to come to know Him and His truth. Above all, to implement His wonderful teachings and to follow Him.
Celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ the Theanthropos, I invite all of you to celebrate this joyous Feast substantially and by emphasizing the true meaning of the Feast. Let us renew and increase our faith in Him. Let us always strive to do His will, making the proper choices with the freedom that we have been given to find our way back to God. Let us be benefactors and assist those around us. Let us live, journey and work as true little “christs” in the world. May no one be deceived by false teachings. May no one doubt that Christ is the only true God who came to save us all.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas with Christ dwelling and abiding in your soul and in your heart. May He fill you with great joy and happiness and guide your steps on the way of salvation; the way to the heavens; the road that leads you to complete union with God and our participation in His infinite glory, blessedness, love and joy.
With fatherly love and blessings,
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Toronto (Canada)

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