CHRIST IS RISEN!
The blessed and all-joyful night of the radiant Resurrection of Christ has come again, eminent Brother-Archpastors, venerable fathers, beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord! We greet the Resurrection of Christ with the greatest joy as the victory of Life, Goodness, and Beauty over death, sin, and evil, and we do not hide our feelings – we are “divinely glad; for Christ is risen as Almighty” (4th Ode of the Paschal Canon). And now “this all-festive, saving night” (7th Ode), harbingering “the unwaning day of Christ’s Kingdom” (9th Ode), renews our inner strength and bestows steadfast hope for successfully overcoming difficulties and trials.
Together, as we send up gratitude to God, Who has spared our souls from death, for the preservation of our life and the opportunity to spend the present highly-exalted days in church, we should not forsake those lessons that are given to us by current events. Let us not neglect the health measures implemented for staving off the coronavirus infection, as the Sacred Scriptures say: “before thou fallest ill, take care of thy health” (Sirach 18:19). This means that precaution is itself a lifesaving medicine. Let us also not forsake prayer that this disease – which has distressed many with the fear of death – will pass, so that the Lord, just as in the Old Testament, will “repent of the evil, and say to the angel” who is afflicting us, “It is enough: stay now thine hand” (ІІ Samuel 24:16).
Venerating the Life-bearing Tomb of the Lord inwardly in spirit, I prayerfully wish all of you – having been cleansed by fasting and having been confirmed in the Faith – to be renewed by joy in the Risen Christ to the depths of your soul! The Holy Church calls all of us to this renewal, for, as the Holy Hierarch Gregory the Theologian writes, “thus the day of spiritual renewal is honored!” May the following significant dates being celebrated this year also help us continue along the paths of our service in a renewed manner: the 100th anniversary of the First All-Diaspora Council, the 125th anniversary of the birth of Holy Hierarch John, Archbishop of Shanghai & San Francisco the Wonderworker, and the 40th anniversary of the glorification of the Holy New Martyrs & Confessors of the Russian Church. Delving into the history of the Church, the lives of the saints and ascetics, let us seek inspiration and strength, so that we too may “walk in newness of life… to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:4,11).
May the peace and blessing of our God, Who loves mankind and Who rose from the dead on the third day, be with you all!
With Paschal joy in the Risen Christ and asking your holy prayers,
Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad
Pascha of the Lord 2021 A.D.