Dear loved ones in Christ, dear fathers, brothers and sisters!
Christ is Risen!
This festal greeting, replete with unique mystery and hope, proclaims the one thing paramount in very person’s life – his relation with God, which fills our lives with meaning and light.
The light of Christ’s Resurrection is a wondrous thing, transforming our lives. The Church often preaches of the Resurrection of Christ, because it has great meaning in the lives of the faithful. Apostle Paul said, “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile…” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Truth and the strength of faith owe their existence to the light-filled event of the Resurrection of Christ. Without it, a Christian is “to be pitied more than all men. (1 Corinthians 15:19).
When we look upon the traditional icon of the Resurrection of Christ, we see the depiction of the defeat of death. The soul of Christ, united to its Godliness, descended into Hell and freed all the souls there, who awaited Him as the Savior. Christ entered the realm of death, agreed to die, and then defeated death through the power of His Divinity. He made death completely powerless, and through His own strength and power, gave the opportunity to every person to avoid the rule, domination and power of death and Satan. In other words, our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, who fulfills every truth for our sake and for us, gives us the sacred power to overcome temptation, to throw off the yoke of our passions and become new creations of God, who live to do good for the sake of God. We sing in church, “We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of Hell.” Both constitute the deep meaning of the feast day of Christ’s Pascha. That is why St. John of Damascus praises joyfully, “All is filled with light, the sky and earth and the netherworld, and all creatures celebrate the resurrection of Christ and are affirmed through it.”
Thus, loved ones, girded by the sacred strength of the Vanquisher over Hell and death, let us try to dig out any roots of evil, even the smallest, as they contain the poison of death, which nearly caused all of mankind to perish. If we ever do slip somehow, let us not despair or grieve with faint spirit, believing that sin is more powerful than we are. That way, we will be worthy to hear the kind words from our Lord on that final judgment day, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.”
+ Bishop Georgiy