Eminent Brother-Archpastors, Reverend Fathers, dear Brothers and Sisters,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
With profound spiritual joy in the Lord I greet you all on this jubilant, joyous night of the Matins of the Resurrection of Christ and Paschal Liturgy! I greet you on the Resurrection of Christ, the most triumphant and exultant of all holidays! It is the feast of feast and the festival of festivals, as the Paschal canon declares. But why is this so? Because in all the other holidays, the Lord is presented in the humble form of a servant, but in His Resurrection from the Tomb on the third day He is displayed in all His power and glory, as the Victor over hades and death.
"In the world ye shall have tribulation," the Lord said as He bade farewell to the Apostles. "but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
Mankind strives daily to bury Christ and seeks to extract from the hearts of His faithful belief in His Resurrection, along with belief in our own. In recent times, many of us have been troubled and unsettled by alarming events of this world, the general apostasy from Christian norms and the crisis which has gripped Holy Orthodoxy, to say nothing of the persecution of the archpastors, clergy, and faithful of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Fear reigns everywhere, fear being the weapon of evil. It is on the basis of fear that the evil one builds his unholy kingdom. But wherever the heart not only firmly believes in, but trusts in, God, the power of evil ceases. When a person humbles himself under the omnipotent Hand of God, he preserves peace within the depths of his heart and gradually unites with the victory of Christ. Then the saving grace of God acts within him much more than man can achieve through his own efforts.
Upon this path, the symbol of the Cross of the Lord and our memory of the Resurrection of Christ embolden the Christian, granting us strength and courage, "Through the Cross joy hath come into all the world," as we hear in one of the Paschal songs. The voice of Christ resounds through the centuries: "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Luke 12:32). If we strive to be with Christ, then with us too is His Eternal Life and Fearlessness, Peace, Joy, and Light! Without Christ, there is depression, despair, uncertainty, and fear…
May the radiance of Christ the Life-Giver lead our footsteps towards the Kingdom of God, so that "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Gal. 5:22-23) be disseminated in the world, moreover in the dioceses, monasteries, parishes, church institutions, and social organizations of the Russian Church Abroad, in the houses of Her clerics and God-beloved flock. May the declaration "Christ is Risen" forever evoke in even those who have left their Father’s house unexpected trepidation, and remind us all of the need for struggle for genuine life, pointing to its source – the Resurrected Lord, with Whom and in Whom we, too, will arise again. Amen.
With Paschal joy in the Resurrected Christ and a request for your holy prayers,
Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad.
Pascha of the Lord 2019 A.D.