by the mercy of God, Archbishop of the Most Holy Archdiocese of Australia, Primate and Exarch of All Oceania, to the God-loving Bishops, the gracious clergy and monastic communities, to the Presidents of the honourable Ecclesiastical Committees and Philoptochos Associations, to the teachers and students in the Schools, to those who work in the philanthropic institutions and to all the Christ-loving plenitude of the Orthodox Church in Australia, grace and peace from our Saviour Jesus Christ born in Bethlehem.
Venerable Brother fellow Bishops and my beloved children,
One of the heresies that our Church faced throughout the centuries was also that of “Docetism”; that is, the belief that God the Word, at His Birth, did not, in essence and in reality, take on the entire human nature, but did so only seemingly. This signals the denial of the divine Incarnation, and therefore the annulment of the divine Economy for the salvation of the human person.
Unfortunately, in our days, many Christians are characterised by such an understanding of “Neodocetism”, to the extent that their lives do not at all witness to the fact that the Son of God was incarnate “from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary” to give us a new and unique perspective of existence. One would say that today’s “Docetism” is the false and illusory “virtual reality” of social media and social networking sites, which ultimately promote isolation and the dissolution of social and emotional ties with other people. At the same time, this “virtual – docetic reality” of social networking sites disrupts our faith in the Incarnate God, since the human person feels omnipotent in the false world they have created with the ‘alleged’ power given to them by an impersonal and soulless electronic device, which keeps them far away from real life. Therefore, in our heavily populated world today, the feeling of loneliness dominates. It concerns a loneliness, which is not only emotional or psychological, but primarily ontological, because it can only be cured by the presence of God, Whom the world of “virtual reality”, unfortunately, tries to distance.
On behalf of the God-loving Bishops, the gracious clergy and all the Christ-loving plenitude of the Fifth Continent, I pray that the presence of our New-Born Lord will prevail in the world and in our life. May the new year 2024 be full of inner fullness for all of us; may it be joyful, peaceful and salvific for Your relatives and Your co-workers, for all People and for our Church.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
In Sydney, on the 25th of December 2023,
† MAKARIOS of Australia