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Address of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the Young Children - January 5

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Jan 5, 2006

My Beloved Children,

Today you have made me, your spiritual father, very happy. My happiness comes from being with you, seeing your smiles and hearing your voices. I have come from far away, from our Holy Mother Church across the seas in Constantinople, to bring you a special blessing at this special time of the year.

And you all know this special time of the year. I am speaking, of course, of Christmas, the Birth of Jesus, which we just celebrated. The Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ is a reason for many things: the gathering of family and friends, the exchange and giving of gifts, and the wonderful services we celebrate in the Church. But most of all, it seems to be a Feast for you, the young children of the Church.

One of the Saints of our Church, Saint Romanos the Melodist, wrote a beautiful hymn that speaks of God Himself coming to world as a Young Child. This Young Child Jesus came into the world to bring us love, peace and joy.

And as I look into your faces this day, I see in your eyes the same love and peace and joy that the Child Jesus brought. And this is because you share in His life through the grace of your Baptism.

Through your Baptism and being part of the Church, you also can bring God's love to the world; by the way you act, and the way you speak, and the things you do. We remember this during this special time of Epiphany, when we celebrate the Lord's Baptism in the River Jordan.

Just as we shall bless and sanctify the waters on the Feast tomorrow, and we shall sprinkle the blessed water throughout the Church and throughout our homes, so must our lives be. Let every moment of your life be like the refreshing waters of the Feast of Epiphany, and let everyone in your world: your parents, your brothers and sisters, your friends and schoolmates, your teachers and guardians, let them be anointed by the love you bring and the joy you give.

You will also see the Cross cast out upon the waters, reminding us that it is the Cross of our Lord that sweetens everything that we do. May His Cross always be deep inside your hearts, that you may grow up strong and true.

Thank you for coming here today to be with me. Know always that as your father in Christ and Ecumenical Patriarch, you are always in my prayers.

May our Lord bless each and every one of you and your beloved families with health, success, and every spiritual blessing.

The blessing of the Lord be with you all. Amen.

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