The Nativity of Christ in Bigorski Monastery
"Today the Virgin giveth birth to the Creator of universe, the cave becomes heaven, The star shows the Sun – Christ to those in the darkness; the Magi carrying gifts, enlightened by the faith, venerated Him; the angels singing were praising Him: Glory to God in the highest."
O, what an unspeakable mistery! What uncomprehensable wisdom of Divine consideration for the salvation of humanity! Who could describe this immence love and nobleness of our precious Lord, Who comes down on earth to be born for our sake and for the sake of our salvation, to be incarnate and become man, making peace between God and the sinful human kind. Until Christ, this kind of love was unknown to the world. Like the bright sun, it shed light from Betlehem cave and spred all around the world, offering us the graceful and redeeming faith, hope and love, true freedom, fraternity and equality in Christ.
The joy of Christ’s birth seemed to have transformed the Bigorski sanctuary, which glittered with its snow-white brightness, like the Betlehem star, attracting all those who out of great love for God overcame all the difficulties, the snow, icy roads and managed to reach the monastery in order to meet the Divine infant and to celebrate His misterious birth from the all-immaculate Virgin. And the monks inspired by Divine love, tried very hard to convey to the faithful the joy of Christmass, so that the holy temple of the Forerunner, decorated in such way as to resemble the Betlehem cave, misteriously narrated the story of the incarnation of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.
Speaking about this, at the beginning of the night vigil and explaining this immence and uncomprehensable mistery, the abbot of the Bigorski monastery, Archimandrite Parthenius contemplated on an ancient prophecy by Isaiah saying that a virgin will conceive in the womb and will give birth to a son and He will be named Emmanuil, which means: God is with us. Namely, it’s the incarnation of Christ which is the beginning of our communion with God. If earlier men considered God as distant and unapproachable, now with His birth He is so close to us, he is within us. If we want, God is always with us. When we are in temptations – He helps us to overcome them, when we are sad He makes us happy. That’s why He incarnated, so that we are never alone. Because when we are on our own we cannot overcome our weaknesses. Those who have fallen into some modern vices, in today’s horrible modern addictions, they cannot overcome them by themselves. But they can if our Lord is with them. "And our Lord Jesus Christ", continued fr. Parthenius," wants to be with all of us, all we have to do is to open our heart to Him through repentance and join His holy Church as its members, because the Church is one huge Divine family, connected in love with Christ, and this same Divine love bonds us together. The Church is a community of love and peace, the arch of salvation. Since, Christianity is not just a list of commands and regulations. It is a constant presence of our Lord among people, a presence which started with His birth. And how was He born? In utter humbleness. Consider His birth in a simple cave, among the simple animals. There was no place for him in the royal palaces and the luxurious houses. Nothing but a poor cave. Thus our Lord gave us an example as to what to every Christian should be like. He also showed us what the most important virtue that we all should strive to attain is. The humbleness is the first step towards a true Christian viruous life. Strive towards humbleness, since through it we receive all the other graceful gifts of the Church, which will never be given to us unless we humble ourselves. Those are the gifts of love, joy, peace and unity with God."
Finally, at the end of his sermon, fr. Parthenius asked the faithful to offer their hearts to God as a gift, since, as he said:"Today is the birthday of the Greatest, the birthday of Light, the birthday of Love. And for birthday people bring gifts. Let us try and ofer a gift to the One Who was born for our sake, a gift of humbleness, of love and prayer. And to show gratitude to our Lord for allowing us to be familiar with this mistery, to live this holy mistery, to live with this Holy Birth, to take Holy Communion and to be a part of His Holy Church, which is the greatest gift He has left to us on earth. I wish you merry Christmas and may our Lord Jesus Christ be born in you hearts!"
Thus, this blessing of our elder was the beginning of a wonderful Christmas night filled with prayer, festive psalm-chanting, accompanied by immence, heavenly almost paschal joy of all the present, joy testifying that God is truly with us, the Divine infant visited us with His heavenly grace.
And this grace, reached its peak at the Divine Liturgy, when all the monks and faithful, united in their thoughts and constant doxology, tasted from the heavenly Bread, taking the Holy Communion. Therefore, during the common meal served after the vigil, fr. Parthenius, pleased at the sight of their faces glowing with joy, addressed the present believers with these words:" I would like to thank all of you for being here with us and making our monastic family bigger and more beautiful. Now all the holy fathers, martyrs, and reverent fathers that lived here in the past thousand years, are filled with joy because they can see that in spite of the non-christian surrounding, the monastery florishes in spirituality and love, and that’s because you too are with us. See how srong the Church is. Not even the ice, nor the snow, could prevent us to gather and celebrate the birth of our Saviour. And you should know something. This coming of yours to the monastery is a great blessing for our nation. This really proves that we don’t forget our centuries old ancestral sanctuaries, that we love them and take care of them, and our Lord, seeing this, will send us His heavenly blessing and will protect our country from all the temptations and evil. Christ is born!"
Sweet packages were prepared for the young ones, donation of "Vitaminka" company, the regular sponsor of the monastery.