New Year Greetings from SIR
At the Outset of the New Ecclesiastical Year
The Merciful Way of Life
No to the “Bread of Egotism”!
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ:
May we once again be vouchsafed, throughout this new Ecclesi-
astical Year, to find ourselves continuously under the luminous
Protection of the Theotokos, through the prayers of our much-revered
Elder, Metropolitan Cyprian.
The multifaceted crisis facing us today, at a national and interna-
tional level, continues to worsen, in the midst of clashing viewpoints
and alarming phenomena that demonstrate with exceeding urgency
the utter gravity of the situation.
What is truly encouraging in this ordeal is that we are gradual-
ly “discovering” solidarity and volunteerism—these evangelic trea-
sures—which had been forgotten in the inebriation of materialism and
egocentrism, the wellsprings of all personal and social evils.
As members of the Body of Christ, we are called upon, at this
crucial turning-point, to become conscious of our oneness and of the
immediate social corollaries thereof, such that the Mystery of the Eu-
charist may be indissolubly bound up with the Mystery of our Brother.
The Eucharist is inconceivable without ministry: participation in
the Eucharist without sacrificial service to our brethren; in the Eu-
charistic Supper, Christ ministers to us, and in sacrificial service, we
minister to others, as ministers of the ministering Christ. The latter
(ministry) constitutes a prerequisite for the former (the Eucharist),and
The ever-increasing sense of Orthodox ecclesiastical collectiv-
ism reminds us that we are “God’s husbandry, God’s building,” and a
“holy temple of God” (cf. I Corinthians 3:9, 16-17). This helps us to
acquire a lucid vision on our journey towards the Last Times:
• Our supreme criterion: the Mystery of our Brother (ministering
with sacrificial love);
• Our anguished struggle: the acquisition of poverty in Christ (in-
stead of the transformation of man into a profiteer, consumer, and fi-
• Our freedom: eschewing every worldly safeguard (instead of
When a Christian prays to the Bread of Life,Who descended from
Heaven, he or she says: “Give us this day our daily bread.” O Lord, “I
do not pray to Thee for my own bread, but for our bread.Why should I
alone have bread, when my brothers and sisters suffer from hunger? It
would be better and more just were I to ask that such bread of egotism
be taken from me. Hunger becomes sweeter, milder, when it is shared
with beloved brethren” (St. Nikolai [Velimirović]).
Yes, let us share “our bread” with our brother, especially at this
critical historic juncture; for this merciful way of life constitutes the
heart of an ecclesiastical existence, since only through our brother
and together with our brother will we meet Christ and participate in
the Marriage of the Lamb, through the intercessions of the Theotokos
and all of the Saints.Amen!
September 1, 2011 (Old Style)
† Bishop Cyprian of Oreoi,
Beginning of the Indiction
Acting President of the Holy Synod