CHRIST IS RISEN!
With these ever-living and sacred words I heartily congratulate all of you, God-loving archpastors and pastors, pious monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters, with our greatest Christian feast of the Bright and All-Glorious Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ!
Our Savior’s resurrection from the dead is a feast of life, because our Savior and Lord, through His All-Glorious Resurrection restored to us the immortality we had lost through Adam’s violation of the commandment of life (Gen. 2:16-17).
The Resurrection of Christ is a feast of light, because Christ, our Savior and Lord, with the radiance of His Godhead, dispersed the cold darkness of death, by which we were embraced by the sin reigning in the world.
The Resurrection of Christ is a feast of joy, because by His Resurrection, the Savior has freed us from the power of hell, which for all of mankind was a place of despondency and sorrow. The Resurrection of Christ grants us the blessed strength to rejoice there where everyone is weeping, and to be happy there were everyone is grieving and sprinkling their heads with ashes.
Joy fills our hearts when we recall with love and reverence the sacred events of the Bright Resurrection of our Savior that took place after His sufferings on Golgotha and death on the Cross.
The holy Myrrh-bearing Women went early in the morning to the life-bearing tomb to anoint the body of their Divine teacher with spices (Mk. 16:1-2). The hearts of the holy women were dejected with the heavy memories of human malice and ingratitude. They could not comprehend how the hands of the lawless ones crucified the benefactor (Acts 2:23), crucified Him Who infinitely loved all people and gave them only goodness and blessings. However, in the depths of the souls of the Myrrh-bearing Women there glimmered, although frail and dim, the hope that the Messiah could not be killed, that He would defeat death.
When the holy Myrrh-bearers saw the angel sitting on the rock inside the life-bearing tomb, and heard from him the words: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen! (Mk. 16:5-6), then their hope was kindled by the spiritual flame of wondrous joy and boundless gratitude to the Lord for coming to earth to return to man the lost Paradise. He, our Creator, took human nature upon Himself and as Man willingly ascended the Cross (Jn. 10:17-18), taking upon Himself all human sin. On the Cross, the Savior fought with the devil as Man and defeated him. On the Cross, the Savior tore up the handwriting of our sins (Col. 2:14, Troparion of the 6th Hour). As Man, Christ the Savior descended in His soul to hell, but inasmuch as the human nature in Christ was forever united to Divine nature, then together with the Savior’s human nature, His Divinity also descended into hell. His Divinity destroyed the power of hell, depriving it of its power over people. The Divine nature of the Savior resurrected His human nature, liberating from hell the souls of those who lived on earth by faith in the coming Christ. It was a great triumph. It was a great victory, which returned eternal life and blessedness to mankind…
Again I congratulate you all, dear brothers and sisters, with the great day of the Resurrection of Christ, with the Bright Pascha of Christ! I wish you all happiness, good success, health, and salvation. Let us love God, our Creator and Savior. Let us love our fellow man, even if they are not as we would like them to be. May the Resurrected Savior bless our Ukrainian land and all of our people. Let us unite around the Resurrected Savior by mutual patience and mutual respect. This will be our modest gift to the Resurrected Christ. The Lord awaits this from us. And let us sing together the wondrous Church hymn of the victorious Resurrection of Christ: “Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life” (Paschal Troparion). Amen.
Indeed Christ is Risen!
Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine