January 1, 2024

2024 Pastoral Encyclical for the New Year (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

 Pastoral Encyclical for the New Year


Human - Transhuman

The feast of the Incarnate Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, which we celebrated a few days ago, is connected with the feast of the Circumcision of Jesus Christ which we celebrate today, together with the dawn of the new year and the feast of Basil the Great, because circumcision, according to the law given by God in the Old Testament, took place eight days after the birth of male children.

Thus Christ also submitted to this painful process and this is connected with His extreme humility and kenosis, which was done out of love for man. The whole life of Christ from His Birth to the Cross was a life of kenosis. He was born poor in a stable of horses and animals and died alone on the Cross of Golgotha.

He did all this out of love for man who, after his fall and banishment from Paradise, wandered without the true God and was tortured in various ways, worshiping idols and believing in ideas and fantasies.

God created man with honor and glory. He made him to have body and soul, but also to have His Grace and thus he was to be complete. And yet after the sin he remained only with the soul and the body, but without the Grace of God, apart from the exceptions of the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, the Prophets and the Righteous, who had a revelation of the living God.

Thus, the Son and Word of God became human in order to give new life to man and restore him to his former glory and raise him higher, to receive him and become a member of His glorious Body. A great honor for man!

In this perspective, the Fathers of the Church were in amazement when they beheld man. Saint Gregory the Theologian exclaims: "What is this new mystery which concerns me? I am small and great, lowly and exalted, mortal and immortal, earthly and heavenly. I share one condition with the lower world, the other with God; one with the flesh, the other with the spirit."

According to the Saint himself, man is "God's most honorable and closest possession," which is why he exhorts us to "know our dignity." It is a great work to know our position, our glory. We need to study it throughout our lives.

Christ, in order to reveal to us the greatness of man and to exalt him, took on human nature, that is, soul and body, and deified it, and thus gave us the possibility to become gods by Grace, completely with the soul and body.

However, people follow a different course, since they separate man from God and break him into many pieces. Some identify man only with his body, developing the worship of the body, others identify man only with his reason and end up in rationalism, others identify him only with his soul, which however they detach from its theological interpretation and end up in psychoanalysis and psychology and much more.

In recent times worldwide, as a continuation of biotechnology, they are building a human robot, without a body, without a soul, without the Holy Spirit, they simply make a body made of matter, wired and connected to computers, which is the abolition of man himself. This is what is referred to as an "internet of bodies", a "virtual reality".

Thus, there is talk of the "transhuman" and this whole movement has been described as "transhumanism". It is a movement that claims that "intelligence and physiology are strengthened with technological implants and through genetics." Therefore, one can "use bionic arms, bionic legs and eyes." And there is not only talk about the "augmented" man, as "optimization of human performance", but also about the effort to abolish death with "digital immortality".

This mentality of transhumanism is completely detached from the theology of the creation of man in the image and likeness of God. Also, it completely departs from the theology of the incarnation of the Son and Word of God and the deification of man. Even the whole content of the teaching of Christ and the Holy Apostles for the salvation of man as soul and body is removed. Furthermore, the entire teaching about man being the most perfect creation of God and about the resurrection of bodies is being altered.

What does transhumanism have to do with the incarnation of the Son and Word of God? What does the movement of transhumanism have to do with Christ's teaching about the deification of the whole human, who consists of soul and body? This is the reason why this movement is considered as an arrogant and opportunistic mentality, as an idolization of life.

But transhumanism is also opposed to the basic principles of humanism, because this is how the human being is lost, since one cannot approach his humanity as a human being, and have elementary human contacts with him.

We accept science when it benefits man, but we cannot accept it when it leads man to his dehumanization and denies the incarnation of Christ. These are terrible consequences for man himself.

Beloved children in the Lord,

Today is a new year, but it must be new in terms of perceptions, because otherwise we think that we are new people living in a new time, but in reality it is a regression to the idolatry from which Christ freed us.

I wish you a good new year, with love, health and freedom in Christ, to become people of God, people of Christ, people of the Church.

With paternal blessings,



Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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