Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America and New York

Be of Good Cheer; I Have Overcome the World

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:


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.1 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.2

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.3 The voice of Christ rings out vic­to­ri­ous­ly: Fear not, lit­tle flock; for it is your Father’s good plea­sure to give you the king­dom.4 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, tem­per­ance5 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,


Met­ro­pol­i­tan of East­ern Amer­i­ca and New York,
First Hier­ar­ch of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church Out­side of Russia

Pascha of the Lord, 2019