Metropolitan Nicholas blesses the faithful with dikiri and trikiri during the Divine Liturgy on the night of Holy Pascha (April 3/16, 2023)
Paschal Epistle
of His Eminence
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Pascha of the Lord (April 3/16, 2023)

With a sense of Paschal joy and spe­cial spir­i­tu­al close­ness, despite the dis­tance sep­a­rat­ing us, I greet you, Emi­nent Broth­er Arch­pas­tors, hon­or­able fathers, dear broth­ers and sis­ters scat­tered through­out the world, on this great and light-bear­ing day of the Pascha of Christ!


Approach­ing Great Lent, a repen­tant Chris­t­ian gazes into his soul and sees his own help­less sit­u­a­tion, remind­ing him of the field of “dry bones” described in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 37:1–14). But depend­ing on the degree of one’s zeal in car­ry­ing out the pod­vig of repen­tance and the approach of the “Feast of feasts,” he begins to taste joy and spir­i­tu­al peace. A Chris­t­ian, togeth­er with the entire Church, pray­ing togeth­er, fast­ing, repent­ing and com­muning, begins to come alive, stands up upon his feet and joins “an exceed­ing great army” of the faith­ful (Ezekiel 37:10). All come alive togeth­er with him; the entire Chris­t­ian world, all of nature—all rejoice, bright­ly cel­e­brat­ing the Res­ur­rec­tion on the Third Day of God, the Lover of Mankind.

Our earth­ly cel­e­bra­tion of Pascha means sens­ing the grace of the King­dom of God to the degree pos­si­ble. Met­ro­pol­i­tan Antho­ny (Khrapovit­sky) would say that with atten­tive spir­i­tu­al liv­ing a per­son acquires the abil­i­ty to rejoice not for one day, but begin­ning with Bright Week and con­tin­u­ing anoth­er 40 days of cel­e­bra­tion, and then over the course of his entire life, as it was with Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who lived with this joy, declar­ing it not only with his heart and mouth, but in his very way of life. May the Lord help us pre­serve this unspeak­able joy, fore­shad­ow­ing for us the blessed­ness “in the unwan­ing days of the King­dom” of Christ, and may we there­by sanc­ti­fy all the rest of our earth­ly days!

Pon­der­ing the tribu­la­tions of our time, we under­stand that the Son of God became man, preached His Gospel, worked mir­a­cles, died and was risen in order to save the world in which the right­eous suf­fer per­se­cu­tions, but where sin­ners per­ish. God, “Who loves the right­eous and is mer­ci­ful to sin­ners,” seeks the sal­va­tion of all. It is in this uni­ty with Christ togeth­er with all of mankind that we must fer­vent­ly pray for the sal­va­tion of the right­eous and the sin­ners, for the great mer­cy of God for the for­mer and for the lat­ter, that it is not our ver­sion of the truth that reigns nor any­one else’s, but the truth of God. That, like His vic­to­ry over evil, sin and death, always leads to love, the tri­umph of uni­ty and the vic­to­ry of Good­ness and Beau­ty. Thus prayed Met­ro­pol­i­tan Hilar­i­on (+3/16 May, 2022) of blessed mem­o­ry, who always shone with Paschal joy and served as an exam­ple of good Chris­t­ian liv­ing. May we like­wise pray as we approach the first anniver­sary of his repose.

I take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to ask the arch­pas­tors, pas­tors, monas­tics and the mil­lions of faith­ful chil­dren of the Ukrain­ian Ortho­dox Church head­ed by His Beat­i­tude Met­ro­pol­i­tan Onouphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, Archi­man­drite of the ancient Kiev-Caves Lavra, to accept from us all the Paschal kiss of peace, empa­thy and Chris­t­ian love! May the Lord help them con­tin­ue upon the path of wit­ness, which Apos­tle Paul described to all Chris­tians in his Epis­tle to the Corinthi­ans: “by hon­or and dis­hon­or, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chas­tened, and not killed; as sor­row­ful, yet alway rejoic­ing; as poor, yet mak­ing many rich; as hav­ing noth­ing, and yet pos­sess­ing all things” (2 Corinthi­ans 8:10).

“Ye are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), said the Lord to His dis­ci­ples. And we, dear fathers, broth­ers and sis­ters, count­ing our­selves as among the dis­ci­ples of Christ, are called to preach His Res­ur­rec­tion both with a good word and by the pow­er of liv­ing accord­ing to the Gospel. When we invest our faith in our words and deeds, they grad­u­al­ly trans­fig­ure into the Light of Christ, illu­mi­nat­ing and warm­ing all. In dif­fi­cult times, this Light, shin­ing forth from the Life-Bear­ing Sep­ul­cher of the Lord, is espe­cial­ly need­ed by every­one. And the more this Light exists among people—in good words and deeds—the more they will feel them­selves close and dear to one oth­er. There­fore, let us in all ways strive to be in the Light of Christ’s Res­ur­rec­tion, sens­ing His strength and pow­er! Amen.


Ask­ing your holy prayers, I remain with Paschal joy in Christ and with the kind­est of wishes,

Met­ro­pol­i­tan of East­ern Amer­i­ca and New York
First Hier­ar­ch of the Russ­ian Church Abroad