Metropolitan Hilarion, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Walk in Newness of Life: Primatial Epistle on the Bright Feast of Pascha

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

Beloved Archpastors, Honorable Fathers, Dear in the Lord Brothers and Sisters:

With a heart filled with the endear­ing sen­sa­tion of Paschal joy, I con­grat­u­late the hier­ar­chs, cler­gy­men, monas­tics, parish­ioners and wor­shipers of our church­es, scat­tered through­out the whole world, on the joy­ful cel­e­bra­tion of the glo­ri­ous Res­ur­rec­tion of Christ, and I greet you with the angel­ic good news: CHRIST IS RISEN!

Greet­ing you all with these holy, eter­nal­ly enlivened words of Chris­t­ian joy, I send you all prayer­ful wish­es for Paschal com­mu­nion with God, spir­i­tu­al peace, firm health, bold­ness, well-being, and the many mer­cies and bless­ings of God, and express my heart­felt grat­i­tude for your prayers, sup­port and help in bear­ing the bur­den of obe­di­ence imposed on my unwor­thi­ness, and for your efforts and par­tic­i­pa­tion in the life of the Church. The words of the Paschal greet­ing, like the trum­pets of the archangels, which will in time lift up all the reposed, lift even now the morale of all Ortho­dox Chris­tians as it does every year on the light-filled night of Holy Pascha. “Even the unbe­liev­ers,” wrote Arch­bish­op Antony (Bar­to­she­vich) of blessed mem­o­ry, “sense some­thing spe­cial on this night, they feel that some­thing is hap­pen­ing that they can­not comprehend.”

By His sac­ri­fi­cial love and vic­to­ry over sin, evil and death, Christ deliv­ered enlight­en­ment, purifi­ca­tion from sin, and renew­al to all who gen­uine­ly believe in Him.1 Pious­ly par­tak­ing of the Mys­tery of His Eucharist on this “feast of faith,” towards which the great Chrysos­tom beck­ons us, let us seek the strength to walk in the new­ness of life… not serve sin… and be alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.2 The Lord now awaits our renew­al, while the mys­ti­cal pow­ers, through grace by grace, are giv­en from the over-abun­dant spir­i­tu­al full­ness we receive in Christ.3

St Tikhon, Patri­arch-Con­fes­sor of All Rus­sia, sum­mons us to this renew­al through his exam­ple, hav­ing 100 years ago meek­ly accept­ed the posi­tion of Patri­arch, brave­ly lead­ing the way to the Russ­ian Gol­go­tha for many mil­lions of “liv­ing sac­ri­fices,” the Holy New Mar­tyrs and Con­fes­sors of Rus­sia, who are our shared trea­sure and the seed of the rebirth of the Ortho­dox Church. We arch­pas­tors are like­wise sum­moned to this renascence by the upcom­ing Coun­cil of Bish­ops of the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church Out­side of Rus­sia, which will take place dur­ing the days of Holy Pen­te­cost, so that we may worthi­ly, pious­ly and in the spir­it of wis­dom per­form the con­struc­tive, peace-mak­ing and salvif­ic work of the Church, to per­fect and improve her earth­ly life and all her works. We are also called towards renew­al through all the cel­e­bra­tions of this impor­tant year—especially the 10th anniver­sary of the reestab­lish­ment of uni­ty with­in the Russ­ian Ortho­dox Church, which became pos­si­ble through the patience, all-for­give­ness and humil­i­ty of His Holi­ness Patri­arch Alexy II and Met­ro­pol­i­tan Lau­rus, who, in the words of Apos­tle Paul, “enlarged their hearts”4 to accom­mo­date all the faith­ful flock. The Lord calls us all towards this renew­al, for, as St Gre­go­ry the The­olo­gian writes, “Thus the day of spir­i­tu­al renew­al is honored!”

May our puri­fy­ing and illu­mi­nat­ing con­science, labors, and life spread like a breeze from heart to heart through­out our dias­po­ra like the “Pascha of purifi­ca­tion”!5 May this call of God the Lover of Mankind, who Rose from the dead on the Third Day, inspire our life in the Church, in soci­ety, in fam­i­ly and per­son­al life to “glo­ri­fy Him with a pure heart”.6 Amen.

With Paschal joy in the Resurrected Christ,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.
Pascha 2017

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