April 24, 2011
The Feast of Feasts
Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is Risen! Χριστός Ἀνέστη!
On this great and glorious feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with unspeakable joy, our minds embrace the light of truth, and our souls are transformed by His presence in our midst and by His love for us.
This is most certainly a day of celebration, a day above all other days, which proclaims the triumph of life over death and offers a beautiful witness of the power of grace and faith. This Feast of Holy Pascha is also a day of renewal. In praise and thanksgiving, we present before all people the new life that is offered to us because Christ is risen from the dead!
Our commemoration of this great Feast through hymns, prayers, and the proclamation of the Gospel, leads us to consider the relationship of His Resurrection to all areas of our lives, to our innermost being, to our thoughts and actions, and to our aspirations and hopes for life now and for eternity. Just as we come with a candle and receive the light of Pascha, so too the light and power of our Lord’s Resurrection should be received into our entire being. Through His presence and grace, we are transfigured from death to life, we are renewed in the image and likeness of God, and in newness of life we carry this light into all the world.
Pascha is a feast for our hearts, a celebration for our souls. Today, repentance is embraced with grace and forgiveness. Hope overcomes despair. Heavenly joy replaces grief. Divine and assuring peace reigns over our inner struggles. Our hearts are renewed with the strength to continue the journey of liberation from sin and evil.
Pascha is a feast for our minds. On this day, Truth is revealed as a superb light for all of humanity. Today, the light of Pascha illuminates our minds. We receive the gift of the divine wisdom that guides us through life. We are blessed with a vision of what is holy, pure, and just. In the light of Pascha, our minds contemplate all of the implications of our Lord’s glorious Resurrection.
Today and in the days and weeks to come we will proclaim over and over again, “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs bestowing life!” After Christ’s Resurrection, the tombs are no longer places of death but of life, bestowed to us by Him as this most precious gift.
On this blessed Pascha, I offer to you and your families my warmest wishes for a beautiful day of celebration and fellowship. May our souls, hearts, and minds be filled with peace and love, and may our joy in Christ and His Resurrection be a true witness of the new life we have in Him.
With paternal love in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of America