Christ is Risen!
With these sacred words I congratulate you all, archpastors and pastors, pious monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters, with our greatest Christian feast of the glorious Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ.
Having completed the labor of our salvation on Earth, the Savior of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ, as True Man, descended into Hell in His soul through His voluntary death on the Cross, to grant the joy of salvation to those who had already completed their earthly journey and were languishing in the cold darkness of Hell, painfully awaiting that blessed day when salvation would come to the world; and that great day has come.
Christ descended into the netherworld as Man, but with Him descended the glory of His Divinity, which is forever united with human nature in Christ. Hell could not withstand the power of Diving glory, and there occurred what mankind had awaited patiently for centuries: Christ slew Hell “with the splendor of His Godhead (Sunday Tone 2 Troparion). All those who died throughout the ages, who lived on Earth by faith in the coming Christ, were delivered from Hell. They all became inhabitants of Heaven. They again began to live, as once did Adam, in blessedness and with humble gratitude to enjoy communion with God and to walk before His face. And the doors of Paradise opened for those living on Earth, and rays of hope warmed their frozen hearts.
The Holy Myrrh-Bearers, who went to the life-giving tomb, to anoint the most-pure Body of their Master and Lord Jesus with spices, saw an angel in white raiment. The Myrrh-Bearers were worried, seeing the empty tomb, but the angel calmed them and said, Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, Which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here … go your way, tell His disciples (Mk. 16:6-7).
The Holy Myrrh-Bearers became the first heralds of the glorious Resurrection of Christ. Then the holy apostles spread out with the preaching of the Risen Christ, and by their great labors of evangelism their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. The joy of the glorious Resurrection of Christ lit up the Earth like lightning, and mankind became aware of the blessed and longed-for truth, that life conquered death in the bright Resurrection of Christ. Mankind is given the greatest treasure in the Resurrection of Christ—the treasure of life—life that is not the mere existence that man created after his fall, but existence filled with joy, happiness, peace, and beatitude.
The Lord our Creator is Himself Life (Jn. 14:6). God created us by His love to be partakers of His Divinity, to drink from Him forever as from a sacred spring, the Divine water of life. And blessed is the man who diligently preserves himself from sins, who courageously conquers himself with the word of Divine love, for such a man purifies his soul, he frees himself from the spiritual filth which humiliates him and deprives him of the ability to enjoy such a sacred gift as happiness. The man who goes to the Risen Christ and tries to live by His word is not only filled with the blessed water of Divine life, but becomes, to the extent of his purity and perfection, a fountain flowing unto eternal life (Jn. 4:14).
Today we, dear brothers and sisters, live in a world that knows Christ, that knows about His glorious Resurrection, but, unfortunately, the seed of truth of Christ’s Resurrection does not bear saving fruit for all of us, because for this we must courageously and persistently cultivate the ground of our hearts and cleanse them from sin. Some of us either lay this labor aside for a later time, or do not want to do it at all, do not want to fight against our personal sins. We do not want to trouble ourselves and force ourselves to turn away from untruths and from the personal pride that relentlessly destroys us. We supinely flow with the tide of perverted human pride of worldly life and we try to build our happiness not on the commandments of Christ, but on our earthly achievements, successes, and good fortune, forgetting that we cannot build happiness upon such things.
Even if a man dominates the entire world and seizes all its treasures, he won’t be happy if his soul is not cleansed from sin. Man cannot be happy if he does not prayerfully drink the living water of the Divine Fountain of life.
We must remember this, dear brothers and sisters, and we must be attentive to our salvation. In our care for our life with God, for our spiritual happiness, may every one of our days be for us as our last. We must fill every day that the Lord gives us with mutual patience, love for God, Who is the Source of our life, and love for others, who are bearers of the image of God. We must pray that the Lord would forgive us and bless our Ukrainian land and all of us living in it with peace, and then we will be sons of salvation and of eternal life. Happiness will not be but a rare guest of our souls, but it will be our constant blessed spiritual treasure.
Again I congratulate all of you, dear brothers and sisters, with the bright feast of the glorious Resurrection of Christ, with the great day of Christ’s Pascha! I wish you all health, happiness, salvation, and God’s blessing.
In these sacred days we unite with the voice of the fullness of the holy Orthodox Church and together we sing, “O Christ, Thou great and most sacred Pascha! O Wisdom, Word and power of God! Grant us to partake of Thee more fully in the unwaning day of Thy Kingdom,” and, repeating the words of St. Simeon, we cry out, “Glory to Thee, O Christ God, for Thou art our Kingdom, Thou art beautiful Paradise, Thou art the Divine bridal chamber, Thou art the chalice with the water of life, Thou art our comfort and joy, and to Thee is due all honor and worship unto the ages. Amen.”
Indeed Christ is Risen!
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine
Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church