Paschal Epistle of Bishop Alexei of Sitka and Alaska


Faithful Children of the God-protected Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sitka and Alaska, so beloved of our Risen Lord,

Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!
Христос Воскресе! Во Истину Воскресе!
Kristusaaq Unguirtuq! Ilumun unguirtur!
Kristusaaq Aglagikux! Agangulakan Aglagikux!
Xristos Kuxwoo digoot! Xegaa-kux Kuxwoo digoot!

Everyone living on Alaskan soil knows that as the seasons change there are times of abundance and times of scarcity. The Creator has always taught the people that there is a time to a fast and a time to feast. And the Holy Church reinforces that knowledge on the spiritual plane with the time of Lent and the time of Pascha. Pascha, our Lord’s Pascha, is a time to feast spiritually, a time of spiritual abundance, a time of God’s great mercy. Our Lord’s victory over sin, death, and the devil is a victory that He mercifully shares with all of us. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). Yes, our Holy Orthodox faith is victorious and what a victory it is! Saint Nicholai Velimirovich put it this way, “The victory of Christ is the only victory in which every human being, from the first to the last, can rejoice. Every other victory on earth has divided and is dividing people.” But the glorious Resurrection of our merciful Christ, it unites us in our common faith; it unites us in our common hope; it unites us in our common love. Pascha is a time of spiritual abundance, a time of God’s great mercy.

And so having received such great mercy through the Resurrection of the Holy Lord Jesus, we are now called to share that great mercy with those around us. What is that great mercy of the Lord Christ? It is His great forgiveness and the fullness of His love, “for behold forgiveness has shown forth from the grave.” This is why the Church urges us to “forgive all by the resurrection,” to forgive and be forgiven, to love and to be loved, because the Lord is Risen indeed.

And so on this Pascha, let us lay aside all bitterness, anger, hatred, disappointment, or bad feelings we might have towards our brothers and sisters, because Christ our God has Risen. He was crucified for all of us. And He rose again for all of us, for those who love us and for those who hate us, for those whom we love and those whom we struggle to love.  He tore up the handwriting of our sins, so that He might give us the joy of truly loving each other and the joy of truly living for each other. In removing the stone from the grave, He removed everything that could divide us from each other and everything that could divide us from Him. We cannot really be in the Church if we do not forgive. Being in Church without forgiveness is like having faith in Christ without His great mercy. And faith in God without mercy denies His very Resurrection. For this very reason, if we believe Christ is Risen, we must forgive all by His Holy Resurrection, we must forgive all and be reconciled with all, because Christ is Risen. And so, we embrace one another in our hearts, those near us and those afar off, we embrace them with the love of Christ. We no longer have enemies, only brothers and sisters with whom we share the joy of our Risen Lord.

It is a great joy for all of us to be Orthodox Christians. It is a great joy for all of us to share with our brothers and sisters the eternal life and great mercy that our merciful Savior has shared with us. It is a great joy that Christ is Risen from the dead and we forgive and love, because we are His.

This Pascha may the blessing of the Risen Christ, His love, forgiveness, and great mercy, fill your lives with His joy and guide our footsteps forever in the way of peace.

With much paternal love in our Risen Lord,

Bishop of the God-protected Diocese of Sitka and Alaska

May 5, 2024
The Glorious Resurrection and Pascha of the Lord


Mekasha Dinbere5/7/2024 4:52 pm
Great message, thank you!
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