Eminent fellow archpastors, reverend pastors and deacons, all-honorable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Addressing you with these life-asserting words, I extend to all of you my heartfelt greetings on the great and world-saving feast of Pascha. On this chosen and holy day so overwhelming is our spiritual joy and profound gratitude to God and so distinct is the feeling of might and depth of the Creator’s love for human beings that, when trying to express our emotions, we can hardly find other words than those of the myrrh-bearing women who ran to the apostles to tell them about the miraculous event – that they had seen the Lord.
One can only imagine how hard it was for the Savior’s disciples to believe in the reality of His Resurrection. It was not long ago that they had seen their beloved Teacher being tortured and crucified. Still fresh in their minds were the memories of how His dead and lifeless Body had been laid in the tomb, with a heavy stone rolled to its door. And now sorrow gives place to the firmness of faith and the triumph of life, and tears of affliction turn into tears of joy.
Experiencing the real communion with the Risen Christ and the unfading Paschal joy inspired and lent wings to the apostles who went to the ends of the earth to preach the forgiveness of sins and salvation which we received through the Lord Jesus, Risen from the tomb. Unafraid of adversities and severe persecutions, suffering hardships and tribulations, the apostles tirelessly and bravely bore witness to Christ the Vanquisher of death.
For two thousand years now, the tidings of the Resurrection have formed the core of the Church’s live, which has been striving to bring these tidings to every man that cometh into the world (Jn. 1:9). In the light of Pascha everything is indeed different: fear and despair, caused by sorrows, afflictions and worldly troubles, go away. And even the trying circumstances of these troubled times lose their ominous acuteness in the perspective of eternity granted unto us. To bear witness to the Risen Savior, we do not have to go somewhere far, like the apostles did who spread the Paschal tidings all over the world. Many people around us are in need of a living model of Christian faith working through love (Gal. 5:6). God does not demand of us some heroic deeds that are beyond our strength. He just asks us to show love to one another, to remember that by doing so we also show love to Him. A kind smile, attention and sympathy to those who are near, as well as timely words of consolation and support can become our most important deeds for the sake of our Lord.
And today when the world is torn by conflicts and confrontations, when many hearts are filled with hatred, fear and enmity, it is of particular importance to be mindful of our Christian vocation and to show genuine love towards our neighbors – love that alone can heal the wounds inflicted by evil and falsehood. We must not yield to the temptation of the archenemy who strives to shatter the blessed unity between Orthodox Christians. I ardently pray to our Lord Jesus the Vanquisher of death and ask you to lift up your fervent prayers to Him as well, so that all obstacles be overcome, a lasting peace prevail, and the wounds of divisions be healed by the Divine grace.
Greeting all of you on the feast of Pascha, I invoke upon you the blessing of the Risen Christ and wish you, my dears, the inexhaustible radiant Easter joy that strengthens us in faith, hope and love. God willing, may this light never fade in our hearts, always shining in the world (cf. Mt. 5:14). And may we, illumined by the word of God by reading the Gospel and partaking of the Divine grace in the Sacraments of the Church – grow steadily in the knowledge of the Lord and in fulfilling His commandments, so that people, seeing our good works, glorify our Father which is in heaven (cf. Mt. 5:16) and join us in joyfully proclaiming that
CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED!
Patriarch of Moscow & all Rus'