NEW YORK: May 3, 2013
Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Hilarion, Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Your Eminences, Fellow Hierarchs, God-Loving Monks and Nuns,
Priests and Deacons, Beloved in the Lord Brothers and Sisters!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
A wondrous energy lies hidden in these words and penetrates the whole soul: Christ is Risen! How joyous are these words for the soul of a Christian! Can more festive words than these be found in the entire human language? These joyous words were first uttered by the Angel to the Myrrh-bearers who had come to the life-bearing Tomb. With our mind’s eye we see Christ Resurrected and hear His sweetest words to the Myrrh-bearers: Rejoice! (Matt. 23:9). The Resurrected Lover of Mankind directs the same joyful greeting to us: Rejoice!
With Paschal jubilation I greet all of you with this radiant world-saving triumph of Christ’s Resurrection! Rejoice, and again I say, rejoice! May each one of you, partaking of the joy today of Christ’s Church, overcome the sorrows and crosses you bear in life: overcome the despondency due to personal sinfulness, and the temptations and scandals which surround us. With a breath of festive compunction let us and those around us partake of the many-faceted mercies and blessings of this all-good and radiant celebration. For the Feast of Pascha is not just another ordinary festival or proclamation of resurrection: it is not a mere promise of life eternal for people; it is the triumph and victory over all grief and anguish, over all sorrow and sadness of this earthly life.
May this Paschal joy, this triumph of life reign throughout our Russian Church Abroad, in each parish, in each monastery, in each family, so that « the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace » (Ephesians 4:3), spoken of by the Apostle, may be visible within our church life. And may whatever transpires among us be peaceful, amicable, cordial and according to the precepts of the Church!
As St John of Kronstadt expresses in his writings: « May our joy of the Resurrection be rational, deep, holy and dynamic. May it move us to greater love of the Resurrected One, to a life of holiness and mutual love. » Amen.
With Paschal joy in the Resurrected Christ and a request for your prayers,
Metropolitan of Eastern America and New York,
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.