By God’s Mercy
Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Plenitude of the Church: May the Grace, Peace and Mercy
of the Christ Risen in Glory be with you All
Beloved brothers and sisters, children in the risen Lord,
"In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16.33) is the reassurance of the Lord, who alone trampled upon death by death, to generations of men and women. "Christ is Risen!" is the cry that we, too, pronounce to all people far and wide from this Sacred See, which has experienced worldly crucifixion and tribulation; but it is also the See of resurrection inasmuch as it is from this corner of the planet, the City of Constantine, that we proclaim "the victory of life" that dispels every form of corruption and death itself.
During his earthly presence, the Lord frequently warned His disciples about the tribulation that would result from his sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha but also because of their ministry and life in this world – both their own as well as all those who believe in Christ. However, he also added a very significant detail: "You will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy . . . So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." (John 16.20-22)
This paschal and spiritual joy was first experienced by the Myrrh-bearing women, who came to the tomb of the life-giving Christ, with the Lord’s greeting in a single word: "Rejoice!" (Matt. 28.9) The same paschal joy is emphatically professed by the Mother Church of Constantinople today: "This is the day of the Lord; let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 117.24) The final enemy, death, sorrow, our problems, corruption, tribulation, and trials: all of these are crushed and abolished by the victorious divine-human Lord.
However, we live in a world where the mass media of communication constantly transmit misfortunate news about terrorist attacks, local wars, destructive natural phenomena, problems of religious fanaticism, hunger, the refugee crisis, incurable diseases, poverty, psychological pressure, feelings of insecurity and other similarly undesirable conditions.
In the face of these daily "crosses," which human beings endure with reluctance, our holy mother Orthodox Church comes to remind us that, as Christians, we can be glad because our leader Christ has proved victorious over them as the bearer of joy, who brings gladness to the whole universe.
Our joy is based on the conviction of Christ’s victory. We are completely assured that good has conquered all things, that Christ came to the world "and left us in order to be victorious." (Rev. 6.2) The world that we shall eternally inhabit is Christ, who is light, truth, life, joy and peace.
Despite its daily crosses and sorrows, the great Mother Church of Christ exclusively and solely experiences this phenomenon of joy. It experiences – from and within this life – the heavenly kingdom. From this sacred center of Orthodoxy, from the bosom of this martyric Phanar, "on this effulgent night," we proclaim that the extension and purpose of the cross and all tribulation, the resolution of all human pain and suffering, is the Lord’s reassurance: "I will not leave you as orphans." (John 14.18-19) "Behold, I am with you all the days of your life, to the end of the ages." (Matt. 28.20) This is the message that all of us should hear, that the contemporary world should hear in order to surrender to and discern Christ on the road to Emmaus. Indeed, Christ is beside us. And we shall see Him only if we hear and experience His word in our life.
This message – of the victory of life over death, of the triumph of the joyful light of the paschal candle over the darkness of disorder and dissolution – is announced to the whole world from the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the invitation to experience the unwaning light of the resurrection. We invite you all to stand with faith and hope before the risen Christ and before the mystery of life. We invite all of you to trust the risen Lord, the master of joy and delight, who holds the reigns of the entire creation.
Christ is risen, then, brothers and sisters! May the grace and boundless mercy of the lord of life and master over death be with you all.
Phanar, Holy Pascha 2017
+Bartholomew of Constantinople
Your fervent supplicant to the risen Christ
My dear brothers and sisters,
With these words, with this hopeful promise, the Son of God completed His salvific mission on earth. He who left heavens and came to earth to offer us salvation. He who became poor for us. He who ascended the Cross and suffered for us. He who was buried for us. He who was resurrected for us, and the death, which He endured, became the harbinger of deathlessness.
However, this conclusion was not only verbal, nor was it simply historic. On the contrary this conclusion was dynamic and timeless. The Church became the agent of this timeless dynamic of His Resurrection. Not as an entrenched religion, but as the Body of Christ, as an open community of sinful people seeking salvation; people who accept the call of Christ: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
The Church eventually came to be the living proof of how much the Risen Lord loves us. Because one can have doubts about anything, but not about God’s love. But what is it that keeps us away from the House of the Father? What is it that does not allow us to return to the Father who loves us and is waiting for us? Is it perhaps our excessive confidence in our own strengths? Or is it perhaps the impression that our errors are so great that they exceed God’s love?
Whatever the answer is, the distance that separates us from God, reveals lack of faith. This is due to the fact that hope and love bring us in communion with God, only when based on true faith. Hope and love illumine the path of return to God, only when we are ready to confess, as Peter did: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Only when faith is not simply a source of boasting, but becomes an inexhaustible source of good practice.
Nowadays, unfortunately, we may have reached the heights of knowledge, but we have ended up illiterate in faith. We may have excelled technologically, but we have ended up theologically ignorant. We have set aside the revealed word of God and have believed new gospels, from the fields of science, philosophy or politics. We have denied God and have believed that we do not need Him, in order to define our existence. We have forgotten the true faith and have surrendered to the heresy of our times: the exaltation of our ego, of power and of wealth.
And now that we regretfully find that our world is dominated by the irrationality of our strongest fellow people, we are seeking to find a way to salvation. And now that we have become illiterate in God’s love, we are looking to find the strength to say: “I will arise and go to my father”(Luke 15:18). However, our personal resurrection is impossible without the renewal of our faith. Our evangelical illiteracy can only be healed through our experiential learning of the word of God.
My dear brothers and sisters,
21 centuries after the Resurrection of the God-Man and the spreading of the Gospel to the nations, mankind has yet again become hopelessly distanced from God’s will. The only safe compass for return to our paternal home, is our re-evangelization to faith. To faith, not only as a matter of the mind, but essentially, as an experience of the heart. To faith, not as confessing an idea, but as confessing the person of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, the Life. To faith, as mission, as a duty of conveying Christ’s Gospel to the ends of the earth.
This is what we are doing in Africa, because, as John Chrysostom said, there is nothing more cold-hearted than a Christian who does not care for the salvation of others (P.G. 60,162). This mission may be huge and the workers may be few, but our hearts are warmed by the hopeful promise of the Lord that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” the Church (Matthew 16:18). This hopeful promise of the Lord is what transforms missionary work into a mission of love that transcends death. Exactly as our Lord overcame death with His Resurrection.
Christ is Risen!
† THEODOROS II
Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa
Christ is risen, truly He is risen.
Christ is risen and the East is bleeding. Christ is risen and our people of all faiths pay with their own lives the cost exacted from selfish interest. Christ is risen and the destiny of our brother-archbishops Paul and John is still unclear. Pascha falls this year close to the day of their abduction, the twenty-second of April. This fourth anniversary is perhaps the most appropriate time for us to raise our voice once more, and to put in the ears of our believers and of all the world the voice of our pain in the Church of Antioch, and the voice of all those who are afflicted in this East.
We are being crucified in this East, suffering this great ordeal. The world looks at the cross of our agony, and is satisfied merely by expressing grief over us. Nevertheless, the power of this world will not drive us out of our land, because we are the sons of the cross and the resurrection. We have been displaced throughout history, and we are still being displaced up to this day, but each of us is called to remember that the land of Christ will not be emptied of his beloved ones and of those who were named after him two thousand years ago. And if the act of kidnapping the two archbishops and priests aims at defying our Eastern Christian presence, and uprooting it from this land, our answer is clear. Even though it has been four years since the two archbishops were kidnapped and this crisis has lasted six years, we are staying here next to the tombs of our fathers, and their hallowed ground. We are deeply rooted in the womb of this East. We are determined not to leave our land, furthermore we will defend it with our own blood and lives.
In giving his peace, Christ said, "Fear not, for lo, I am with you until the end of the age." We remind ourselves and our children and the whole world that the open-minded Christian presence in this East is more than a presence; it is an identity rather than a boast. Our summons today brings to the attention of the world, organizations, states, governments, associations and embassies, a cry of truth: We want to live in this East in harmony and peace with all faiths. We are not in need of sympathy for us or denunciation of others, but we are in need of serious and sincere good will from all parties to foster peace in our land. The lives of our people are not cheaper than anyone else’s life. Archbishops Paul Yazigi and John Ibrahim were kidnapped and no one troubled himself to issue more than a mere statement of denunciation or promise yielding no results up to this very moment. We value and appreciate the work and zeal of some who have worked with all their strength in behalf of this issue, but the truth must be said: We were, and are still awaiting more than that, especially from those who have the power of binding and loosing internationally and regionally. We do not leave this issue in the care of the civilized world, which has burdened us with its talk about democracies and reforms, while our eastern man is deprived of bread and of all means of livelihood. The ever-higher cost of living and the asphyxiating siege are affecting the livelihood of the poor. There is a war, unfortunately, imposed upon us as Syrians, and there are consequences that burden us as Lebanese. And there is a price which we pay as Easterners all over the Middle East stemming from the results of all wars, as though bets are waged on our land. Our summons today reflects upon events, as we cry "enough!" in the face of those who feed our land with terrorism, takifirism and blind extremism. Our summons today is a cry "enough!" in the face of those who finance the terrorist, but feign blindness of his existence, and later rush to fight him or to make a claim to fight him.
In the Holy Paschal season, we supplicate the risen Lord to remove the stone from our hearts and to break with his spear the war of this world. In these holy days, we pray again for our abducted archbishops, repeating our call for their release. We have knocked on the doors of embassies, omitting no international and regional forum, in our effort to present the crisis in Syria and to explain its repercussions, including kidnapping and displacement of our people to the world at large. We have raised the issue of the kidnapped archbishops. On this occasion, we call on everyone, here and abroad, to work hard toward the liberation of the Archbishops of Aleppo and toward closing this case, which has been suspended by international amnesia. However, this issue is always present in our souls and in the souls of all our children Christian and Muslim, as well as all those of good will.
On the day of the resurrection of Christ, we ask that the peace of his resurrection be upon you, and upon our sons at home and abroad. During Pascha, which means passing over, we raise our earnest prayers to the Lord of the angels to bring peace to our country and to the whole world. Our earnest prayer is for all the kidnapped, all the abductees. Our prayers are for every displaced, homeless, miserable, afflicted and poor person. Our heartfelt prayer to the risen Lord is that He may send his true spirit of peace to silence all the voices of strife and unrest in the Middle East and in the world at large.
In the Resurrection of Christ, those who are called by his name, the Christians of the Church of Antioch, always pledge to remember that the path of the resurrection began with the Cross, and was crowned with the light of the empty Tomb. As we imitate Christ, we do not fear death or adversity, but we pray in our weakness, as our Lord Jesus Christ Himself prayed, that the cup of suffering may pass.
We are in the days of remembering the resurrection of Christ, even though mingled with a heartache that has not been healed for four years. We pray today to the risen Lord to instill his hope in our hearts, granting to them His Holy Spirit, and bestowing upon us the gift of the release of all the kidnapped, so that we may always cry: Christ is risen and the angels are exulted. Jesus is risen and the bars of Hades are destroyed. Christ is risen and life is renewed; to whom is due all glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
Christ is risen, truly He is risen.
Damascus, April 14, 2017.
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch
and All the East
The fristfruits of those that sleep:
The firstborn of all creation
And maker of all created things!
(Stichoiron of Paschal Praises tone 3)
It was deep dawn on that day, the first of the Sabbaths, the first of the Week, after the crucifixion and the burial of Lord Jesus. The women surrounding Mariam, who had escorted Christ from Galilee and had become witnesses to His Cross and burial, ran in haste on that dawn, wondering to themselves who would remove the big stone at the entrance of the tomb, so that they would be able to anoint the body of the crucified and buried Lord Jesus Christ with myrrh, according to the custom of the Jews.
However, having reached the tomb, they became witnesses of a dazzling and marvelous sight. They found the stone rolled away, while a couple of lively angels said to them why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen (Luke 24:6). Behold the place where they laid him (Mark 16:6).
This was the gospel, the good news, of the accomplished work of God for the liberty, redemption, rebirth, regeneration, resurrection and salvation of man. The Only-Begotten Son and Word of God, having received flesh from the Holy Spirit and the Ever-Virgin Mary and willingly placed this flesh upon the cross, he died as human on the cross and was buried as mortal, to be risen from the dead on the third day by the power of His Father and His own Divine power. Death did not have power over Him, he was not able to keep Him. The God-man Jesus Christ trampled down death by death. He shattered the bonds of Hades, pulverized the seals of the tomb and left it empty but with the linen clothes to witness His resurrection.
Not only this, but the Lord who was risen from the dead confirmed the angelic vision and announcement soon afterwards, by His own resurrected presence. He appeared in His immaculate body, which was crucified, pierced with nails, brightened and deified, in many appearances He made after His resurrection. He met the myrrh-bearing women in the garden outside the tomb saying to them “All hail” (Mat. 28:9). He appeared to His disciples when they were assembled in the Upper room, when the doors were shut in the evening of that day, the first of the Sabbaths, and again after eight days when Thomas was with them (John 20:19-29). He walked alongside with Luke and Cleopas towards Emmaus, where He blessed the bread and gave it to them (Luke 24:30). He stood amidst His disciples, talking to them, and while he could not be touched he encouraged them to touch Him and make sure that being Incarnate, He had flesh and bones and asked them and was given to eat a piece of a broiled fish and of a honeycomb (Luke 24:36-44). “To whom he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3). On the fortieth day after His resurrection, while His disciples were watching, He ascended in Heaven and sat at the right hand side of His Father, with the Incarnate nature He received from us and deified it.
From Heaven, He sent to us through the Father another Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, His Holy Spirit, which enlightened His Holy disciples and apostles and founded the Church, His Holy Body. He founded and foreordained it to continue His sanctifying and salvific mission on earth; to be the manifestation of His forthcoming Kingdom to the world; to preach His Gospel all over the world; to offer remission of sins by the power it received by Him; to preach the knowledge of Him to the ignorant world; that He is the way and the truth and the life; to preach the hope of the resurrection to the desolate people; to lighten the burden of the people bringing them to Himself, who said Come to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Mat. 11:28); to exercise works of charity to the poor, refugees, shipwrecked and homeless, taking as an example its Founder, Who is the source of all goodness and philanthropy. By the power of His words “take, eat and drink of it all” and in the invocation of the Holy Spirit to transmit His immaculate Body and His sacred Blood for the remission of sins and life everlasting. To contrast the fury of war violence and the illogical novel terrorist destructive atrocity to His word of sacrificial love and reconciliation, Father, forgive them (Luke 23:34) and I say unto you, love your enemies, and bless them that curse you (Mat. 5:44).
The Church of Jerusalem, Holy Zion, which has been granted by its Founder His ministry and redemptive mission to the places where He appeared in flesh, and especially in His Life-giving Sepulchre, of which the Sacred Edicule was recently renovated, wishes to its Christian congregation all over the world, and to the noble pilgrims who honour it, patience to the end and fruition in patience, the strength and the hope of resurrection as an antidote to the adversities and sorrows, the true peace of the Resurrected Jesus Christ, health and prosperity and a joyful resurrection paschal season, exclaiming in unspeakable joy “Christ is Risen!”
Holy City of Jerusalem PASCHA 2017
With Fatherly wishes and Patriarchal blessings
Fervent supplicant for all before God
Patriarch of Jerusalem
Christ is risen from the dead,
trampling down death by death,
and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Resurrection of our Lord is the greatest Christian feast day. It is the feast day of faith, life and of every blessing from God. Our entire faith is in the Resurrection and the Resurrection is in our faith. The Holy Apostle Paul, the teacher of the nations, whom we unreservedly can call the greatest preacher of the Resurrection of Christ and our own, clearly said: But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep (I Corinthians 15:20). Faith in the Resurrection of Christ is the essence of the apostolic preaching and teaching, the foundation of the Church and of her services and theology.
In the Holy Scriptures the Resurrection is the central theme, in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. The Resurrection is spoken of in two mutually connected meanings: as the general resurrection of the dead at the end of the history of mankind (cf. Isaiah 26:19), and as Christ’s Resurrection, foretold by the Old Testament prophets (cf. Psalm 15:10), and confirmed through the preaching of the Holy Apostles (cf. Acts 2:23-24).
The Old Testament, with its language and prototypes, in many places talks about resurrection. The prophet David speaks about it in his Psalms (Psalm 15:9; 16:15). The greatly suffering Job with faith in the resurrection cries out to God: For I know that my Redeemer lives and that in my flesh I shall see God. (Job 19:25-27) The prophet Jonah is a prototype of Christ’s three day resurrection. (cf. St. Matthew 12:40) The most well-known vision of the resurrection of the dead in the Old Testament is given in the book of the prophet Ezekiel: he, inspired by the Spirit of God, sees how the dry bones come to life and how each one puts on human flesh. (cf. Ezekiel 37:1-10) That vision filled the hearts of all believing Jews of the Old Testament and it was inseparable from the faith in the coming of the Messiah and in His Resurrection (cf. Isaiah 53:10).
The New Testament is, on the other hand, entirely centered in the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. This is confirmed by the Holy Evangelists’ emotive description of the last events from Christ’s life that happened in Jerusalem: His judgment before Pilate, His Crucifixion, His death on the Cross, but also His glorious Resurrection (cf. St. Matthew 27-28; St. Luke 23-24)/ The first ones who were made worthy to become witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection were the myrrhbearing women (cf. St. Mark 16:1-2), and then the Holy Apostles and the fullness of the ancient Church. They are joined with the first Christian martyrs and all later martyrs, and the new martyrs, true witnesses of Christ’s Resurrection, as well as the Fathers of the Church, who through the holy councils, through the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed and through their dogmatic teaching have bequeathed to us the faith in the resurrection. The Church itself is a witness that Christ is with us throughout all ages. (cf. St. Matthew 28:20). The Church witnesses to this, most especially, in the Divine Liturgy, which is celebrated in remembrance of the “death and Resurrection of Christ.” In the Divine Liturgy the Resurrected Christ is given to us in Holy Communion. Let us, then, be children of the Resurrection! Let us live by the Resurrection of Christ, as the Holy Apostle Paul said, and not allow anything to separate us from His love! (Romans 8:35)
The great Russian elder, Saint Seraphim of Sarov, would greet the pilgrims who came to his monastery throughout the entire year with these words: “Christ is risen, my joy!” To reach that spiritual state, in the words of Saintly Bishop Nicholai “we must with our very life kiss Christ’s Crucifixion, not out of custom, but rather as our own crucifixion, and kiss his wounds as our own wounds.”
With sadness and pain in our heart we must say that today’s world is not following the road of resurrection, but instead is following the road of death and hopelessness. When we say this we have in mind the fact that in Serbia every year the equivalent of a whole city dies due to the mortality rate being larger than the birth rate. This is a reason for weeping and wailing, but it is also an alarm for admonition. Something must be done to stop this way of death. A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more (St. Matthew 2:18)/ Abortion is always and everywhere, and even among our own people, a deadly sin which cries to heaven. We must stop killing our own children in the womb! They too have a right to life and resurrection. We ask where are those pretentious “fighters for human rights” to protect the weakest among us – unborn children in their mothers’ womb. Let us, brothers and sisters, leave the country of sin and death, as the Israelites of old left Egypt, and God will bless us with every spiritual blessing, so that we may be People of the Living God. May the joyous cry of newborn children be stronger than the helpless cries of death! May Serbia and the entire world, once again, become a great Cradle! Let us return to faith in life, let us return to the Resurrection!
Dear brothers and sisters, the Holy Orthodox Church is our spiritual Mother. She cares for her children regardless of where they live and she is crucified with her sons and daughters so that all together they may achieve the Resurrection. Let us rejoice with those who have joy and let us mourn with those who mourn, bearing one another's burdens, for in this way we will fulfill the law of Christ! (cf. Galatians 6:2) The Holy Elder Sofronios (Sakharov) said that the fulfillment of God’s commandments crucifies in us the old man and resurrects the new man created according to the image of God, our Creator and Savior. In the same spirit, Saint Basil the Great also talks about the transformational meaning of fasting and said that God's angels record the names of those who keep the entire Great Lent, for by their fasting they renounce the earthly and transitory in order to gain the eternal and heavenly, and that is resurrection. By fulfilling the commandments of God, we express and confirm our love towards Christ (St. John 14:15), but also towards our neighbors (cf. St. Matthew 22:40)
Today’s world has largely adopted a different philosophy, the philosophy of the wide road that leads to destruction (cf. St. Matthew 7:13). Attempts are being made to replace Christian virtues with a seeming humanism and the false spirituality of the Far East. All false religions and para-religions, philosophies and false philosophies, ideologies and modern mythologies are enslaved to death and are sentencing human beings to death inasmuch as they believe that man is “a being for death”, and not a being meant for eternal life, especially if they encourage people to murder and kill themselves, either quickly (in wars and in bloody “peaceful” conflicts) or over time (by licentious living in every kind of vice, especially in slavery to drugs). We live in a time when some try to make evil look like good, and good evil; while sin, according to the Holy Elder Paisius the Athonite, is made out to be something modern and acceptable. Idols, anti-heroes, disobedience to parents and rejection of every authority are being offered to our youth instead of examples of virtue and honesty. Great is the responsibility of the Church, but also of all educational institutions of this country, because it is necessary to help the youth to find the way of authentic life and resurrection. Let us teach our children to be like the young man in the Gospel who asked the Lord: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” And this young man received from Christ this answer: “Observe the commandments!” Here is the way to salvation, here is the resurrection!
We paternally call all those who have separated themselves for any reason from the One, Holy, Catholic (Saborna) and Apostolic Church to return to her fold. The sin of schism and heresy is truly a terrible one. According to the Holy Fathers not even the martyr’s blood can cleanse it. Let us forgive each other by the Resurrection and let us again be brothers in our Holy Church, the only Ship of our salvation!
We greet all of our spiritual children in our Fatherland and abroad with the Paschal salutation, and we pray that the Resurrected Lord will grant the joy of the Resurrection to all. We especially greet our faithful in the crucified Kosovo and Metohija, that inseparable part of Serbia, whose holy shrines are guardians not only of Serbian Orthodoxy but also of Christianity in Europe. Kosovo was and will remain ours, because God is found not in force but in justice, and He is able to return to us that which is being taken away from us by force.
By this feast of the Resurrection may Serbia and the entire Serbian people be resurrected, as our poets used to say. May God grant that those who lead and guard our country may be inspired with the spirit of the Resurrection and the spirit of faith in the victory of good over evil! May the Resurrected Lord, the Conqueror of death and Giver of Life, grant every good to His People, that is to say, to the entire Christian and Orthodox race, and to all people of good will, that we all may have even now a foretaste of the joy of the future age, the joy of resurrection and eternal life!
Christ is Risen!
Your intercessors before the Crucified and Resurrected Christ:
Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
Serbian Patriarch IRINEJ
Holy Pascha is therefore the feast of eternal life, of eternal light and everlasting joy in the love of the Most Holy Trinity.
That is why, during the Easter Night and the entire forty days Paschal period we chant the troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!”. We also sing: “Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth, and the nethermost regions“, or “Let the heavens rejoice! Let the earth be glad! For the Lord has shown strength with His arm“.
We are called during these days of light, peace and joy received from Christ the Lord to manifest light, peace and joy in our family and society, especially by helping the sick, orphans, the elderly, the poor and those who are lonely and saddened. Let us not forget also the Romanians who dwell among foreigners. Let us keep them in our prayers and love.
On the feast of Holy Pascha, we wish you all good health and salvation, peace and joy, addressing you the Easter greeting: Christ is Risen!
Patriarch of Romania
The radiant day of the Resurrection of Christ has dawned and our Paschal celebrations have bathed us in the glorious light of renewal and regeneration. Today is a completely new day, a day which began when the divine brilliance pierced and dispelled the darkness of Hades and ended with the remarkable explosion which took place when Eternal Life crushed death and corruption.
On this new and bright day, our faith is renewed along with that of the Myrrhbearing Women standing by the open tomb; our hope is confirmed along with that of the Apostles on the road to Emmaus; and our love is strengthened along with that of the Mother of God who remained ever at the side of her Son. Even if we count ourselves among the numbers of those who previously denied or deserted the crucified Lord, such hesitation or shame cannot withstand the force of the new life of this day.
We know too well that there is no human being who lives and yet does not sin, and the consequences of the Fall are reflected in a world overshadowed by war, terrorism, and human misery. Nevertheless, this dark reality loses its hold on us today because we have tasted of the new drink from the fountain of incorruption which fills us with spiritual courage and divine hope.
This courage and hope are not simply fleeting emotions of the moment but rather an experience of the life of the risen Lord Who fills our hearts with such joy that every day and every moment of our existence we can sing paschal hymns such as this:
How divine! How beloved!
How sweet is Thy voice, O Christ!
For Thou hast faithfully promised to be with us
To the end of the world.
Having this as our anchor of hope,
We the faithful rejoice.
With my archpastoral blessing and love in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropoiltan of All America and Canada