Paschal Message of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry


Paschal Message
of the Primate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church
His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kyiv and All Ukraine
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics,
and All Faithful Children
of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church

Christ is Risen!

With these ever-living and dear to our hearts words I sincerely greet all of you, God-loving archpastors and pastors, devout monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters, on our greatest Christian Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ.

The Feast of the Bright Resurrection of Christ is also called the Pascha of Christ because it marks the passover of mankind from darkness to light, from evil to good, from death to life. The Feast of the Bright Resurrection of Christ is a most glorious triumph of God’s love over the malice of all-human sin.

Sacred history reminds us the sad event of the human fall. God created man out of earth, breathed the breath of life into his face, and adorned him with His Divine Image. God gave man to man himself: He gave him free will so that he may rule over himself, so that he may reasonably make himself depart from evil and do good (Ps. 33:15), so that he may consciously cause himself to live according to God’s sacred laws, which make man sacred and like God, our Holy Creator and Maker.

Living in Paradise and obeying God’s instructions, people, our progenitors, enjoyed peace, light, and joy, which the Divine Nature of the Creator is radiant with. People lived in bliss. But the devil tempted our progenitors, and they sinned: people turned away from the Divine love, but the Divine Love did not turn away from people.

God, our Creator and Maker, Himself comes onto earth to suffering people and accomplishes the feat of the redemption of all mankind. The Incarnate God suffers in the flesh for us people, is crucified on the Cross, dies, descends into hell and destroys it, and most gloriously rises therefrom as God. By His glorious Resurrection, the Lord once again bestows upon us eternal life and bliss, returns us the lost Paradise.

What great and beautiful love of God for His creation!

The Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women were the first to receive the news of the most-glorious Resurrection of Christ. They came to the Life-Giving Tomb early in the morning and brought sweet spices to anoint the Holy Body of their Divine Master. The hearts of the Holy Myrrh-Bearers were filled with indescribable joy and consolation when they saw the Tomb empty and heard the words of the Angel sitting on the stone rolled back, who said: ‘… I know that you seek Jesus Who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said … go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead’ (Matt. 28:5-7).

What a wonderful Divine mercy: Eve was the first to sin, and the Holy Myrrh-Bearing Women were the first to get the news of the Resurrection of Christ.

Today, the whole world knows about the Resurrection of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ. The entire mankind lives by the gracious gifts bestowed upon us by our Saviour and Lord through His most-glorious Resurrection.

Pascha, says Saint Theodore the Studite, brings calmness and relief from many labours to human soul (Homily on Pascha), and Saint Gregory of Nyssa says that Pascha soothes any tribulation, and there is no man who would not find comfort in the triumph of this Feast (Homily on Holy Pascha).

And today, dear brothers and sisters, we join with spiritual joy in the bright triumph in honour of the most-glorious Resurrection of our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ.

The Holy Gospel says that when the Risen Lord appeared to the Myrrh-Bearing Women, He said these words to them: ‘Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me’ (Matt. 28:10). This blessed call is addressed to each of us who considers himself to be a Christian, a follower of Christ. Today, the Lord also calls us to Galilee so as to see Him there, our Creator and Redeemer. Galilee, in a figurative sense, means the spiritual space of moral purity, where Christian virtues reign: love and humility, patience and mercy. Those people who have cleansed their hearts of all unrighteousness and have filled them with virtues of love through repentance — those people have reached spiritual Galilee and are granted there the great honour and joy to see with the rational eyes of their souls the Risen Christ, His unspeakable beauty and infinite love, and His kindness and mercy.

There are a lot of Christians who have reached spiritual Galilee, but they hide themselves under the cloak of humility. There are even more who are still on their way to Galilee, that is, they have already left sin, but they have not reached the proper height of the purity of heart and Divine love yet. And there are also those who have not made even a good step yet. Let us get up and bravely, with the help of prayer and fasting, go to spiritual Galilee, to the Risen Christ. A guide to spiritual Galilee is the sacred commandments of God, which, like a spiritual beacon, show us the right path in the night of our earthly wanderings.

Let us hurry, dear brothers and sisters, Christ is waiting for us.

I once again wholeheartedly greet all of you on the Great Day of the Bright Resurrection of Christ, on the Pascha of Christ. May our Risen Lord Jesus Christ protect us from those who are waging war against us and bless our Ukrainian people and land with peace. May the Risen Christ bless the whole world with peace. Amen.

Indeed Christ is Risen!

+ Onuphry
Metropolitan of Kyiv and All Ukraine

Pascha of Christ
Kyiv, 2024


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