HOCNA- Portland: Paschal Epistle 2009

We are collecting and publishing all the encyclicals of various first-hierarchs for Pascha and including them under the subheading “Paschal Epistles 2009”. Although the Metropolis of Portland is not HOCNA’s primatial see, the encyclical, to our knowledge was the only one available online from HOCNA this year. If we are missing your jurisdiction’s Paschal encyclical, please let us know using the contact form. NFTU

His Eminence, Metropolitan Moses of Portland

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ:

Christ is risen!

Through the gift of the Holy Spirit we have experienced the Holiest of Weeks and the mystery of our salvation. Again Lazarus is raised from the dead after four days, again our Christ, the God-Man enters Jerusalem as Priest and King and inarticulate children are filled with the prophetic gift and lead the cry of Hosanna in the highest. Again the high priests and elders of Jerusalem conspire against Jesus, the Savior, to put Him to death and the Lamb of God is sacrificed as the new Passover victim in order to take away the sins of the world through His Body and Blood. At that awesome and world changing Mystical Banquet, presided over by our Savior Himself just before His voluntary Passion and death, the disciples are given a new commandment: to love one another. (John 13:34)

The world we live in has grown old in sin and for the most part mankind staggers about in confusion, blinded by prideful materialism and/or pantheism. Our western culture is permeated with a spirit of self-love and it has brought forth sin and death. The results are legalized murder of the unborn and exploitation of others that Saint Justin Popovich referred to as “refined cannibalism.” Many of the leaders of our modern age worship the creature and not the Creator through humanism (the worship of man) or some other form of idolatry. The spirit of Anti-Christ grows stronger and the world is full of deceit.

In this age of gathering spiritual darkness our only hope is to let the light of Christ shine forth and our message to the world is Christ is risen, and He is the answer. Christ has demonstrated His supreme love for us by deed and given us a commandment, “This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)

Do we let the light of Christ shine forth in our own communities? Have we taken to heart the words of our Savior concerning the unity that we must have, if we are to be His genuine disciples? In His last words to the Apostles at the Mystical Supper our Savior prayed to the Father concerning two things, the truth of His teachings and the unity we are to have as Christians, saying,

“Sanctify them in Thy truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified in the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe in Me through their word; That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” (John 17: 17-21)

We cannot give lip-service to the teachings of our Savior and hope to spiritually survive. Judas was a disciple for a time and heard the teachings of our Savior, but his discipleship was in pretense and deceit, and he perished.

Christ is risen my brothers and sisters and if we respond with sincerity of heart, even if we make mistakes and stumble, if we repent Christ will raise us up and our hope will not be put to shame. Through Baptism and the Eucharist we partake of the death and resurrection of Christ, the God-Man, and we are washed by the Blood of the New Testament. Let us never forget that we have been made new. During this renewal week wherein we keep the feast of the Resurrection let us seek to be new men and women and hearken unto the words of Saint Paul when he says,

“Brethren, let us be no longer infants, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness according to the artifice of deception, but being truthful in love, let us grow up into Him in all things, Who is the head, Christ; from Whom the whole body, being joined and knit together by that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in measure of each and every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Eph 4:14-16)

Christ is risen! May your life of self-sacrificing love demonstrate the resurrection of Christ and may He bless you and your families.

Your fervent suppliant unto God,
Moses, Metropolitan of Portland