By the grace of God Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa
To the fullness of the Apostolic and Patriarchal throne of Alexandria
Grace and Mercy and Peace from our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ
Born in Bethlehem and having accomplished Divine Dispensation
"Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us" (Matt. 1:23)
Dear Brothers and children in the Lord,
The great mystery of the Incarnation of the Word of God announces His desire for mankind's salvation. The Virgin gives birth to the Supersubstantial Word, who brings peace to the world and goodwill to mankind. Mankind is not forsaken by its Creator, on the contrary, the Creator God is with him - "God is with us" - and that is why the name of the newborn child is Emmanuel.
"God is with us" was so following the recent and sudden loss of His Beatitude Petros VII, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa. The Grace of God indicated My Humility as continuer of the spiritual effort of the Alexandrian Church, as successor to holy Patriarchs, confessors of the faith.
"God is with us" also on the twenty-centuries long course of the Ancient Patriarchate of Alexandria. Despite its many trials, pressures, different nations and cultures, it maintains and continues its Orthodox course given by its founder, the Apostle and Evangelist Mark. In our days, with faith in God, we travel together with our emigrant brother Hellenes of Africa to our African brothers of the Missions.
"God is with us" in our concern for our emigrant brother Hellenes. Their great work continues to be admired by all. In every corner of Africa we see our holy churches and schools, the great names of our benefactors and the Hellenic flag in the Hellenic Communities. These are all their achievements. Our Patriarchate and our Communities, Orthodoxy and Hellenism, united with harmony, understanding, and mutual assistance, show everyone, especially the youth, the moral values of Orthodox Hellenes, their Faith and Homeland, through our rich culture, our traditions and our language. During these holy days our churches will again be full and in our prayers we will ask our Lord to bless our every emigrant brother and also to help our suffering African fellow man.
"God is with us" also in the imperative duty of the Church to its missionary work. We have an obligation to enforce the Lord's command: "Go out into the world and teach all nations" especially in the area of our spiritual jurisdiction. Social and political challenges in Africa strengthen us and force us to enrich the mission activities. The thirst for the salvation of the souls of all people is always the source and the culmination of entire Christian life. This salvation of souls begins in the holy sanctuary, or simply put, mission begins at the Holy Altar. Already, in all the Archdioceses and Dioceses huge and multifaceted work is being undertaken. Social assistance to our suffering African brothers, in cooperation with humanistic associations and volunteer priests and lay people, strengthen the presence of Orthodoxy in much-suffering Africa.
"God is with us" also in the efforts for the strengthening of the voice of the Church in a contemporary and constantly-changing world. The common universal problems of terrorism, hunger, poverty, wars, discord in human relations, necessitate dialogue, communication and cooperation between people, independent of colour, race, religion, language and descent, for unity, peace and coexistence. As in the past, we send a universal and worldwide message, a message of love to all nations and we will contribute according to our means that the message of the angels for "peace on earth" may prevail.
My dear brothers and sisters,
I once again feel the need to thank the All Merciful God, whose Grace deems me worthy to communicate with you for the first time, as a Spiritual Father and humble missionary on the much-suffering land of Africa and from this Holy See of the Patriarchate of the Apostle and Evangelist Mark I wish for you that the incarnate Word of God will bless you and that the star of Bethlehem will always guide your steps to His love.
"God is with us". Amen.
+ Theodoros II
Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria & All Africa In the Great City of Alexandria. Feast of the Nativity 2004