Paschal Epistle of His Eminence
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Most Reverend Brethren Archpastors, Honorable Fathers,
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
With a feeling of deep spiritual joy in the Lord I greet you all with this exultant and joyous night of Christ’s radiant Matins and Paschal Liturgy! Greetings with the feast of the Resurrection of Christ — the most triumphant and joyous of all feasts! It is “the Feasts of feasts, and the Triumph of triumphs,” as the Paschal canon bears witness.1Irmos of the 8th ode But why is this so? Because while in the other feasts the Lord presents himself in the humble form of a servant, in His three-day Arising from the tomb He appears in all His strength and glory as Conqueror of hell and death.
In the world ye shall have tribulation, said the Lord in his farewell teaching to the apostles, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.2Jn 16:33
Mankind strains from day to day to bury Christ and strives to rip away belief in the Resurrection from the heart of those faithful to Him; and together with it, faith in our own resurrection. In recent times many of us have been disturbed and worried on account of the turbulent state of the world, the universal abandonment of Christian norms, and the crisis that has seized our Holy Orthodoxy — not to speak of persecutions against the archpastors, clergy, and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Everywhere is sown fear, which is the weapon of evil. Upon fear the Evil One erects his wicked kingdom. But where the heart not only has firm faith but also trusts in the Lord, there the power of evil ends. When a man humbles himself under the strong right hand of God he preserves peace in the depths of his heart and gradually joins himself to Christ’s victory. Then, the salvific grace of God achieves in him much more than the man could have implemented by his own strength.
On this path the sign of the Lord’s Cross and memory of the Resurrection of Christ must embolden the Christian and give him strength and fortitude. “Through the Cross joy hath come to all the world,” we hear in one of the Paschal hymns.3from “Having Beheld the Resurrection of Christ”, sung thrice on Pascha night after the sixth ode of the Canon The voice of Christ rings out victoriously: Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.4Lk. 12:32 If we strive to be with Christ, then His Immortality and Fearlessness, Peace, Joy and Light will also be with us! But without Christ is anguish, despondency, uncertainty, and fear.
May the radiance of Christ the Life-giver guide our steps on the path to the Kingdom of God, so that love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance5Gal. 5:22–23 inhabit the world, most especially the dioceses, monasteries, parishes, ecclesial institutions, and social organizations of the Russian Church Abroad, and in the homes of Her clergy and God-loving flock. May the exclamation “Christ is Risen” always call out an involuntary trembling even in those who have departed from their Father’s house; and may it remind us of the necessity to battle for true life, pointing to its foundation, the Resurrected Lord, with Whom and in Whose Resurrection we also abide. Amen.
With Paschal joy in the Resurrected Christ and asking your holy prayers,