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Christmas Greeting from Archbishop Chrysostomos

Occasional Cypriot News Contributions Directory

From: Panayiotis Zaphiris <pzaphiri@glue.umd.edu>

CHRISTMAS GREETING FROM HIS BEATITUDE THE ARCHBISHOP OF CYPRUS CHRYSOSTOMOS TO OUR EXPATRIATED FELLOW COUNTRYMEN

"Idoy gar eyaggelizomai ymin xaran megalhn, htis estai panti tw law, ti etexqh ymin shmeron swthr, os esti Xristos Kyrios, en polei Dayid." (Loyk.b',10-11)

In the disturbance and confusion of our days, in the agony and stress that the contemporary times unfold inside us, in the rivalries, the wars and the conflicts, here come the great holidays of our religion to allay our souls, the Christmas, the New Year's Day and the Holy Epiphany - for they assure us that in the world we live in, we are not deserted and helpless. We are accompanied and surrounded by the foresight and love of our Creator God.

The son of God became man to redeem us, for those of course who choose to take his offer. He is going to hurt with us and suffer, to absolve us from pain and any other passions to which our removal from God has submitted us. He came on earth as the liberator and saviour and received "doyloy morfhn" (the face of a servant), to set us free from the fetters of sin and from the dead ends of life bring us new outlets. Devoutly we bend the knee and we worship with the utmost condescension and love and with great joy; the Christians celebrate, the hard for the human intellect to conceive, gift of the divine love.

Filled with this joy, we hasten to share with you, dear expatriated brothers. Taking this opportunity of these festivities of Christianity we communicate with you, to reassure you once more of our interest for you and our love. To assure you that no distance, no frontiers are capable to keep you, mentally and emotionally, away from us. We are united by the same Orthodox faith to Christ, the same Greek blood, history and tradition, and the same struggles, the same desires, the same searchings of the spirit; For this I am happy, for we share joy as well as pain.

Dear Expatriated Brothers,

This is the twenty second Christmas that the Cypriot Hellenism celebrates in the tragic conditions of semi-occupation and the uncertainty for national and religious survival. The Turkish violators not only keep occupying half of our country, but they keep watching to take the other half as well. In the four hundred and more churches and chapels of the occupied north of our island, the joyful message of the humanization of Christ was not heart this year either. They remained this year too silent and pillaged, with no hymns, no ecclesiastical service, no candles, no censes. Deep is the pain, and the tear of nostalgia is bitter. However, the knowledge that Christ came on earth as the liberator and the saviour, as the supporter of each wronged and run after, doesn't let us, no matter how powerless and sunk in desperation we are. We are not going to surrender to injustice and we will not accept the grapnel. With faith in God's love and in the power of justice, we will fight without ever stop claiming our rights until the day when from the pulpit of our enclaved churches in Kyrenia, Morfou, Kythrea, Karpasia, Ammochostos, Messaoria will majestically be heard the angelic message: "Idoy eyaggelizomai ymin xaran megalhn, oti etexqh ymin shmeron swthr, os esti Xristos Kyrios". ("Here, we evangelise to you a great joy, that today the savior was born, and he is Jesus Christ").

In our struggle, we are sure that we have your support, dear expatriated brothers. Do not forget about us, wherever you are. Every moment that goes by is valuable for our future and our survival. Do not ever forget that the Greeks of Cyprus face the danger of total uprooting from their fathers' homes. Listen to their painful cry out and let your conscious rise inside you for your brotherly duty. Each one of you, from where you are and according to the existing capabilities, unite your strength with ours. Hold hands together for this common cause, for the liberation of our enslaved land of the Greek Cyprus, for the assurance and the safeguard of the survival of our people as free people, Greek and Christian on this island given to as by our fathers.

Primarily you, brothers from America, do not forget us. Do not allow the distance that separates us to undermine the sense of brotherhood that must connect us. Do not allow the material care and concern to delete from inside us the struggle's morale. You live and work in a country that forms today the international political picture. We are hurting, brothers, and we are asking for your support and reinforcement. We are being victims of an injustice and we are asking for your support and conscription. You are our strongest hope to our struggle for liberty. Please, do not desert us. Do not forget that the guns that are turned against us were given to the invators by your country. Get organized and each one of you, from the battlement offered to you, give your presence to the struggle of your brothers in Cyprus. With coordinated attempts, and with programmed actions, there, where the decision-making centres are in your country, strongly contrive for the restoration of justice and freedom and all human rights in Cyprus. Make it clear that, as Greeks and as American citizens you will never stop the struggle until the Government of the USA will honour the tradition of those who set the Statue of Liberty as the symbol of America. Until sincerely and decisively the American Government acts not for the sake of any intention to cover and support the invador, but to demand and achieve their immediate departure from Cyprus.

With these sentiments that Christmas holidays come with, and with our appeal, we fatherly greet all of you and each one separately, expatriated brothers, and we wish you from the bottom of our souls that Christ, who became human for us, give you strength, health and all the best and blessings so that the new year 1996 be for you and for us and for the whole nation, a year of progress and happiness, a year of victory and justification of our struggles.

Many years to all of you. Always give, wherever you are an honourable presence of your Greek decent and your Christian Orthodox Faith. May God be with you.

The Holy Archbishopry of Cyprus
Christmas 1995

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