The Christmas Message of Bishop Mykola

December 23, 2023

In his Christmas Message to the faithful of the Melbourne Eparchy, Bishop Mykola Bychok pays special attention to the topic of salvation, which is the leading theme in the Holy Scriptures: “The path of salvation is the way of our downfalls, sins, wounds, and suffering. However, it is also a path of joy from healing through forgiveness, victory over one’s own weaknesses, and the peace that Christ gives us through His love.”

The Christmas Message of Bishop Mykola


“He came today from heaven to save all his people,
and He was comforted”
(Christmas Carol)

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!
Dear Beloved in Christ!

For the first time, we celebrate Christmas according to the Gregorian calendar, uniting in this way with the entire Christian world, “so that all may be one” (Jn. 17, 21). Christmas is not only the celebration of the birth of the Child of God. It is also the feast of our salvation. Jesus Christ came into this world to free us from sin and death. Jesus came to save us and give us life, “so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3, 16). Jesus came to fill us with his grace. Christmas was, is and will always be a time of joy for everyone who believes that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, the One who gives salvation.

Every Ukrainian knows the words of the carol “God Eternal”, in which we glorify the newborn Baby Jesus, who came to save the whole world. It is in this that the whole essence of a loving God towards sinful man is manifested. In the Christmas reading of the Apostle St Paul, we read: “When the fullness of the time had come, God sent his Son” (Gal. 4, 4), meaning that Jesus Christ becomes a man of God at the appropriate time, fulfills the Old Testament prophecies and the salvation of mankind becomes a reality.

The salvation of man is a leading theme in the Holy Scriptures. It begins on the pages of the first book of the Old Testament with the fall of our ancestors Adam and Eve, who sinned because of their disobedience to the Creator. However, man, after his fall, was not abandoned and forgotten by God. We read: “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring. It will crush your head, and you will try to dig into its heel” (Gen. 3, 15). These words are about the struggle between the serpent and the woman and the final victory of her offspring, God calls her (cf. Gen. 3, 9) and “in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 410).

God in his infinite mercy leaves man the promise of salvation. After the fall of our forefathers, the world was waiting for the Messiah-Deliverer, who “by the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man” (Symbol of Faith). As the church tradition has always seen in this promised woman, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, and in Her offspring the Incarnate Son of God, who will wipe the head of the serpent-tempter, called the devil and Satan (cf. Rev. 12, 9). And since the fall occurred through the first woman — Eve, and through the second woman — Mary, salvation was to come.

Apostle Paul calls Christ the second Adam, contrasting Him with the first Adam: “the first man is from the earth, earthly, the second Man is from heaven” (1 Cor. 15, 47). Christ — the New Adam combined in Himself both natures: God’s and human. This is how one of the festive sticheras on Christmas Eve proclaims this mystery: “Today heaven and earth unite, for Christisborn; today God came to earth in the flesh, and the human race was lifted up to the heavens; today for the sake of all, He is seen in the flesh, the One Who by nature is invisible. Let us glorify Him, singing: Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace which Your coming has bestowed on us. O Savior, glory to You.”

One of the mediators that we are obliged to rediscover in our Eparchy as a healing balm for our sins and wounds is the Holy Sacrament of Confession. Through repentance in confession, we defeat the “enemy of our salvation”, therefore, proper preparation for this sacrament is very important, namely the realization that we are sinners, in need of sincere repentance and forgiveness, through which we gain salvation. Although it is not easy for us to confess our sins (cf. James 5, 16) because of the fear of confession; after the Holy Mystery of Penance comes peace and tranquillity from Christ, who embraces us with his tender palms.

The path of salvation is the way of our downfalls, sins, wounds, and suffering. However, it is also a path of joy from healing through forgiveness, victory over one’s own weaknesses, and the peace that Christ gives us through His love. Although amidst the darkness of sin and hatred, which is manifested in the war in Ukraine and in the Holy Land, today we are in great need of God’s protection and a strong sense of hope for salvation. The battle between good and evil continues and sometimes it seems to us that we are alone in this struggle, but the birth of Baby Jesus, which we joyfully celebrate, inspires hope in our hearts that we are not alone — God is with us.

I join you in prayer and wish you a blessed Christmas and New Year!

Christ is Born! Glorify Him!

The blessing of the Lord be upon you!

Eparch of Melbourne

Given in Melbourne,
at our Cathedral of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul,
on the 6th day of December, in the Year of Our Lord 2023,
Our Holy Father Nicholas, Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra

See also