Bp STEFAN of Trenton (RTOC): Paschal Epistle

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Bp STEFAN of Trenton (RTOC): Paschal Epistle

Paschal epistle to the faithful sons and daughters of the North American Diocese


“Christ is risen, by His death hath He destroyed death and raised up the dead; rejoice o ye people!” triumphantly hymns the Church.  Once again the Holy Church calls upon everyone to be joyous on this luminous day of the Resurrection of Christ.

During the last days of this week the Church piously commemorated the great sacrifice of our Redeemer, Who endured suffering and death “for the sake of the life of the world and of salvation”.  But this redemptive and mystical feat as well as His descent into hades was not understood by the Disciples of Christ who were not yet enlightened by the Holy Spirit. During the previous three years they had been witnesses to so many miracles that, as the Evangelist John the Theologian writes:  “If they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” (John 2l:25).

For them, Jesus Christ was everything; He was both their life and joy!  And suddenly He is not there!  It is impossible for us to imagine that state of despondency and dejection in which the Disciples of Christ found themselves upon seeing their beloved Teacher-Messiah, Life-giver and Lord dead, lying in the tomb.  They were in a state of shock. How could this be? According to their understanding this was not supposed to have occurred. Because of human frailty, they could not contain the words of the Lord which He had spoken one day earlier: “And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice and your joy no man taketh from you.”  (John 16:22).

And indeed their sorrow turned into eternal joy:  Christ arose on the third day according to what had been foretold!  By the grace of God we did not experience that despairing grief which Cleopas expressed:  “But we trusted that it had been He Which should have redeemed Israel.” (Luke 24:21), and yet we are experiencing the fullness of the joy which was experienced by the Myrrh-bearing women hearing the Angelic tidings:  “Ye seek Jesus, Which was crucified.  He is not here; for He is risen as He said.”  (Matt: 28:5,6).

It is very possible that we, like the Disciples, are now experiencing a certain sorrow when we see the apostasy which surrounds us.  Who among us does not ache in the soul upon seeing such a pervasive unrepentant state and apostasy from the Truth of Christ.  But neither this nor any other sorrow or sadness is capable of ruining our Paschal joy over the Vanquisher of death and hell.  Just as for the Disciples of Christ, so it is for us that our Lord Jesus Christ is everything – our life and our joy!  And since Christ suffered for us, opened for us the gates of Paradise and even now sojourns with us, then who can be against us?  “In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good courage, for I have conquered the world” (John 16:33) says the Lord.

May this Paschal joy be with all of you and may the victorious words “Christ is Risen!” be with you always!

† Bishop Stefan, of Trenton and North America

Pascha – 2012

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  • Euthymios

    Bishop Stefan never answered me when I informed him that one of his priests (Father Vladimir Mordvinkin) advised me to attend church at St. Herman’s Monastery in Platina (Serbian Patriarchate!). Why? Because they were closer to where I lived, spoke English, and because I did not supply my ROCOR baptismal certificate to Father Vladimir. This is reprehensible! His suggestion that I confess and commune at a church in apostasy, shows he holds to a Cyprianite type ecclesology. These people never showed compassion toward me, nor did they answer me when I kindly asked for an explanation.

    • Jason

      Once you have made all of the rounds, and you have a YouTube video up denouncing each and every GOC, TOC, continuing ROCOR, and Trueish Orthodox hierarch; like a bolt of lightning everything will suddenly become crystal clear and you will know where you must go. Its a treacherous road, but some of us just have to take it so that we learn and understand where it leads and where it does not.

      • HmkEnoch

        Where would that be? If he doesn’t like them, then, logically, he can’t join any other religious denomination (whether it be Romanism, World ‘Orthodoxy’, etc).

      • Anonymous

        Why be so vague? Why not help out and state where one is to go?

      • Anonymous

        They are not continuing ROCOR, because they fell away for eight years, when they were in Communion with ROCOR, when ROCOR was in communion with the heretic, Met. Cyprian of Fili. The RTOC was never properly received back into true Orthodoxy, and I believe the evidence shows they are actually Cyprianite.

  • Anonymous

    Metropolitan Vitaly and everyone that stayed with ROCOR once their union
    with Met. Cyprian was established were just as much if not more so
    under the Anathema Against Ecumenism, as communicants and propagators
    of its heretical theories. As Bishop Gregory Grabbe wrote at the time in
    his article “On the Dubious Orthodoxy of Metropolitan Cyprian’s Group”
    (“Church News”, no. 5, Sept. Oct. 1994, pp. 2-4): “Frightful as it may
    be to admit, our Sobor has fallen under our own anathema!”

  • Anonymous

    Allegedly, Father Victor Melehov is now a priest in the RTOC (Stefan) church. This
    is uncanonical because Father Victor was deposed by the ROCOR, HOCNA
    and the ROAC.This shows what little regard people like this have for
    RULES and CANONS. These kind of self-willed and disobedient individuals
    are ruining the witness of Orthodoxy for the people belonging to the
    21st century. There is too much EGO, and not enough OBEDIENCE.