Protocol No. γ-1583
Paschal Message 2012
To the entire Church
“Let us purify our senses and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the unapproachable light of the Resurrection, and we shall clearly hear Him say, Rejoice!, as we sing the hymn of victory.”
Dearly beloved children in the Lord,
The light-bearing Feast of the Resurrection is the central message of the Gospel. St. Paul says: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1 Cor. 15:14) and later he repeats the same emphasizing “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain” (1 Cor. 15:17). The Jews themselves, Muslims and even atheists believe in the historicity of the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews, because their forefathers crucified Him, Muslims recognize Him as a Prophet, and atheists accept Him as an historical person and a rebel. But only we Christians recognize Him as the Son of God Who willingly suffered and rose from the dead. And not simply by conviction do we believe in His resurrection, but we become communicants of His burial and His resurrection.
During our entrance into the Church through Baptism, the triple immersion and emersion in the water signifies the three-day burial and resurrection of our Lord, according to the Apostle: “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection” (Romans 6:4-5).
In continuation, throughout our life in the Church and at every Divine Liturgy we live the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord. And the most important and fearful mystery is that we commune of the resurrected Body and Blood of our Lord and God and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Also, in each Christian’s personal life he lives the alternation of trial and liberation. He picks up his cross, according to the commandment of Christ (because the Lord promised the cross and labour to those who mount the strait and narrow way and follow Him), but he also knows the joy of grace which follows when we he faifully endures temptation. Because, just as the resurrection follows the passion, likewise comfort follows trial, as the Prophet David sings: “we went through the fire and water; but thou broughtest us out into a place of refreshment” Psalm 65:12.
Trials and sufferings give us the possibility to progress spiritually if we confront them with endurance as Job the much-suffering did and if we pray continually to God with much thanksgiving in time of sorrows: “Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth and forevermore.” If we pray for those who hate us and tempt us, and forgive them from our hearts, then we become imitators of the Lord and we store up for ourselves spiritual treasure. But the Lord knows our abilities and will not permit us to be tempted beyond our ability: “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (Cor. 10:13).
Beloved children in the Lord, this applies also to the crisis which the nation of Greeks is going through. As a nation, the majority of people have departed from God and true Orthodoxy; this is why we are being tried so harshly. As many as are of the faithful, let them stretch forth their prayers on behalf of their brethren who have distanced themselves from the path of salvation. The trial will bring back many of them into the embrace of our mother: Orthodoxy. It is our obligation to support our brethren though prayer, a good word, and most importantly our good example. Let us convey the flame of courage and aid to those found in darkness and despair, primarily having lit our lamps through piety with the holy light of grace.
Living according to God, let us cleanse our passionate hearts and let them shine as a mirror, that we may see the radiance of the risen Christ, which shines as the sun, crying out joyfully the hymn of victory:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
On March 23rd in the year of salvation 2012
THE HOLY SYNOD
+ KALLINIKOS of Athens and all Greece
+ Metropolitan AKAKIOS of Attica and Diauleia
+ Metropolitan MAXIMOS of Thessalonica and Demetrias
+ Metropolitan ATHANASIOS of Larisa and Platamon
+ Metropolitan JUSTIN of Euripus and Euboea
+ Metropolitan PAVLOS of America
+ Metropolitan GERONTIOS of Piraeus and Salamina
+ Metropolitan CHRYSOSTOMOS of Attica and Boeotia
+ Metropolitan MOSES of Portland and the western United States
+ Bishop GREGORY of Christianoupolis
+ Bishop PHOTIOS of Marathon
+ Bishop THEODOSIOS of Bresthena
+ Bishop CHRISTODOULOS of Theoupolis
+ Bishop SERGIOS of Loch Lomond