Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah, on the occasion of the great feast of the Lord’s Pascha, 2009
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful
of The Orthodox Church in America
Dearly Beloved in Christ,
Beloved, let us greet one another with Paschal Joy, and exchange the kiss of peace.
Let us feast soberly, that our joy may be full. Let us not stuff ourselves to satiety with feasting, nor indulge our passions to insensibility. Most of all, let us not give ourselves over to the darkness of the fallen world from which we have sought to purify ourselves, lack of forgiveness, anger and judgment, bitterness and hatred.
Rather, let us allow our old selves to remain crucified and buried, that the New Man may live, resurrected in and with Christ. Let us live according to the Kingdom, in communion with the Holy Spirit, so that we may be renewed by the Resurrection.
Our Pascha is not simply the beautiful services and the good food. It is not just family and Easter bunnies. It is not just the fellowship and familiar old customs.
Pascha is the dawn of the Age to Come, the Kingdom of God radiating into our souls and minds and hearts. Pascha is the experience of salvation itself, the foretaste of the Messianic Banquet, and the transformation of our lives. In Pascha we behold Christ, Risen from the dead, the revelation of the Second Coming.
We have gone with Christ to His Passion, but have we been crucified with Him?
We have held vigil at His Tomb, but were we asleep, and missed Him? Did our minds betray us and we doubt His Resurrection?
Let the fruit of our Lenten efforts be the enlightenment of our minds and the renewal of our hearts that our repentance not be in vain.
Let us sing with joy together with the Angels and Archangels, and all creation which has groaned awaiting the revelation of the Son of Man. With all creation, the living and dead, the spiritual and material, and with all the saints, let us cry:
Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Христос Воскресе из мертвых, смертию смерть поправ, и сущим во гробех живот даровав!
Χριστος ανεστη εκ νεκρων, θανατο θανατον πατησας και της εν τοις μνημασι ζωην χαρισαμενος.
With love and joy in the Risen Christ,
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada
Paschal Greetings from Metropolitan PHILIP
“He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one to His own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)
“O Christ Saviour, we were but yesterday buried with Thee, and we shall rise with Thee in Thy Resurrection. We were but yesterday crucified with Thee: glorify us with Thee in Thy kingdom.”
(Verse from the Third Ode of the Paschal Canon)
Beloved Hierarchs, Clergy, Trustees, Parish Council Members, and All Faithful of our God-Protected Archdiocese:
Christ is Risen!
I greet you with the Paschal greeting, praying that our Risen Lord will bless you and your families as we celebrate His glorious Resurrection from the dead. As we live in the midst of a world plagued by war, famine, crime and moral decay, we have no other hope than to look to our Lord who destroyed death and gave new life to all. This new life and hope should strengthen us to overcome all of these destructive forces and, in fact, enable us to speak out against them. Indeed, as Christ ended the “wailing of Eve by His Resurrection,” we must also “proclaim that the Saviour is risen from the dead.”
May the eternal light of the Empty Tomb shine in your hearts and in the hearts of people everywhere.
Wishing you a glorious Paschal season, I remain
Yours in the Risen Lord,
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down Death by death!
And upon those in the tombs bestowing life!