We are collecting and publishing all the encyclicals of various first-hierarchs for Pascha. We will be including them under the subheading “Paschal Epistles 2009”. As they come in from various sources we are putting them up. NFTU
PASCHAL EPISTLE of His Eminence Agafangel, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Outside of Russia
Christ is Risen!
Right honorable Bishops and Fathers, dear brothers and sisters!
Just as the sun lights our sinful world at dawn, so does the Pascha of our Lord illuminate our most sinful souls every year. Just as the rays of the sun fall upon the natural world asleep in darkness and calls it to life, so does the Good news of the Resurrection of Christ reach our deadened and sleeping souls and calls them to eternal life. On this day, in a most special way, the Lord comes to seek out those that belong to Him, those for whom He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.” (John 17:21) And the Sower of life decidedly gathers His praiseworthy harvest. But how can we find ourselves among those, who are destined to be one with Christ in eternity? The Lord did not create His union with all, but only with a small number of the people: “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me.” (John 17:9) How can we find ourselves in the small number of those chosen by God, saved and fated to remain alive?
Just as the incarnation of God was for our sake and He dedicated His earthly body to us, and suffered and gave His life for us, which is a witness to His love for us, so must the Lord Jesus Christ become everything for us. We, in turn, must dedicate and sacrifice our whole lives to Him. We are called to love our Lord, our Jesus Christ, “with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matthew 22:37) When the Lord becomes our light, our spiritual nourishment, our goal and purpose of our lives – when He becomes the one, Whom we love eternally on this earth and to Whom we draw to, when we cannot live for a minute without thinking of Him, when He enters into us and dwells within us, only then can we say of ourselves: Yes, we are disciples of Christ and the body and Soul of the Lord lives within us! Until we dare to say that of ourselves, we remain idle observers and not participants in the Resurrection of Christ, and this Resurrection does not become our personal resurrection.
I wish that all of us, brothers and sisters, arise with Christ from the dead, arise while we are still alive by the grace of God and the hope of this radiant Resurrection abides within us! The Lord has come to us in these radiant days and reached out to us, to call those drowning in earthly pursuits to life eternal! Let us decide to answer the Lord’s call for our salvation! Let us break down the barriers of little faith in our hearts and declare with all our heart:
Truly, Christ is Risen!
+ Metropolitan Agafangel
The Most Reverend Andronik Archbishop of Ottawa and North America
вЂњYour resurrection, 0 Christ our Savior, is praised with songs by the Angels in heaven,
make us worthy to praise You also here on earth and to glorify You with a pure heart.вЂќ
Stichera of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ
Congratulations to you all, honorable fathers, dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
with the radiant Resurrection of Christ!
I greet you with the joyful Paschal greeting:
Christ is risen!
There is nothing on earth that is higher or more holy than this radiant Paschal joy, as this joy is a foretaste of that heavenly bliss that awaits all true Christians in eternal life.
My dear brothers and sisters, let us treasure the gift received from God вЂ“ our belonging to the true Church Abroad, which was saved two years ago from the destruction wrought by those who lost all sense of spiritual discernment, so that we are not kept from the joy that awaits us in eternity. Let us treasure the brilliant spiritual light that shines upon us from Christ and the Paschal joy that knows no equal. Let us greet one another from the depths of our hearts with sacred salutations. Let us fervently pray to the Resurrected Lord, that He may ignite with this Paschal light a love of Him in our hearts.
вЂњLet us celebrate and take joy in this day, created by God!вЂќ
Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!
Archbishop of Ottawa and North America
New York. Pascha, 2009.