Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

The coming of the New Year, thanks to the providence and ineffable philanthropy of God, is not only a time of praise and thanksgiving to the Creator of time, but also a time for reflection upon our course within it.

Whether the new year that begins today will be a good or a bad one depends on how each and every one of us will live during this new time.

The Apostle Paul instructs us: “Be careful then how you live, not as fools but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5: 15-16).

How does one uses profitably his time? What is this time? And to which days is the Apostle referring as being evil?

Every man’s time is the present life. And evil days are those that one does not treat as he should. Every human being, therefore, who in this life lives with wisdom and virtue, and who endures all the sorrows and temptations caused by visible and invisible enemies with patience and endurance, buys his time in wisdom. Wise is he who takes advantage of all the opportunities of injustice, sinfulness and reproach, because he thinks of the spiritual profit from enduring them patiently.” (St. Symeon the New Theologian)

The words of the apostle Paul and their interpretation by St. Symeon the New Theologian help us to understand that we should work with a godly zeal during the new year so that we may apply God’s commandments in our daily lives. In other words, our Orthodox Faith ought not to be empty words but deeds so as to obtain, through the help of the Holy Spirit, the “precious pearl”. This means that we should imitate the merchant of the parable that the Lord said, about someone who “was looking for some beautiful pearls, and when he found a precious pearl, he sold everything he owned and bought it.” (Mt.13: 45-46)

If we complement the gift of Orthodoxy, given to us by God, with Orthopraxy in our daily lives, then, the New Year will become the context for our acquisition of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Through Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy our life will become an example for others to discover the treasure of the Orthodox Church and be saved.

For nothing is so powerful as to affect others than orthopraxy. Even miracles are less persuasive, says St. John Chrysostom: “For it is certain that those who believed were not attracted only by the miracles of the Apostles, but rather their way of life.”

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,

His All-Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, during His recent visit to Korea, expressed His prayer to the eminent President of our country that the dream of Peace in the Korean peninsula becomes a reality before the end of his presidential term.

We welcome the New Year with the same prayer, hoping the dialogue for Peace and Reconciliation in Korea will be accomplished successfully before the end of 2019.

On behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, our Clergymen and all our Collaborators in the mission work of the Orthodox Church in Korea, we wish spiritual and physical health and many blessings from our Lord to all of you and to your households in the current New Year.

With much honour and love in the Lord,

+ Metropolitan Ambrosios of Korea