O Light-formed children of the Church,
The brilliant and light-bearing day of the Resurrection has once again dawned. The beautiful Sun of Righteousness shone forth. The souls of the faithful are illuminated through the light of Grace. The joy of the Resurrection floods the hearts of those that formerly fasted and mourned.
How vividly the pen of St. John of Damascus describes this day’s transformation of sentiment: “Yesterday I was buried with Thee, O Christ, and today I arise with Thine arising. Yesterday was I crucified with Thee; do Thou Thyself glorify me with Thee, O Saviour, in Thy Kingdom.” What profound theological meanings are veiled in these simple words! The Apostle Paul relates in this connection: “If so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17) Our participation in the passion of Christ is the precondition for our participation in His glory.
Our Lord and Master took upon Himself our own nature, taking the form of a servant. He Who is without sin suffered on our behalf and arose. And we, therefore, who believe in Him and have been baptized have become communicants of His passion and resurrection. This is, after all, what the mystery of baptism signifies: “As many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death. 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 6:3-5) It is not, therefore, by chance that the baptisms of catechumens happened expressly on Great Saturday, when the entire atmosphere of Great Week and Renewal Week contributed to their truly experiencing within themselves the divine Passion and glorious Resurrection.
We, however, on hearing the Apostolic verse resounding in the churches as it is chanted throughout Renewal Week—“As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27)—let us take care to appear worthy of the greatest gift. The Apostle Paul himself addresses us all, who have been baptized in Christ, saying that in knowing this truth and in knowing that our old man has been crucified together with Christ so that the body of sin may be abolished, let us be slaves of sin no longer but live for God: “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:11)
Let us seize this message, beloved brethren and children in the Lord, and let us die finally to sin and live according to God, as communicants of the Resurrection. And then, being ransomed from death we shall celebrate the Pascha of our salvation: our passage from slavery to freedom, from death to life, from the earth to heaven.
“For Christ God hath brought us from death to life, and from earth unto Heaven as we sing the triumphal hymn.”
Christ is risen, brethren!
THE HOLY SYNOD
+ KALLINIKOS of Athens
+ AKAKIOS of Attica and Diauleia
+ MAXIMOS of Thessalonica and Demetrias
+ ATHANASIOS of Larisa and Platamon
+ JUSTIN of Euripus and Euboea
+ PAVLOS of America
+ GERONTIOS of Piraeus and Salamina
+ CHRYSOSTOMOS of Attica and Boeotia
+ GREGORY of Christianoupolis
+ PHOTIOS of Marathon
+ THEODOSIOS of Bresthena