by the mercies of God
Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Archdiocese in the
To our beloved Clergy and Orthodox Christians,
peace and holy joy from Christ the Lord,
and from us, an Archpastoral Blessing.
Very Reverend Fathers,
Christ is risen!
The Day of Resurrection once again offers us the joy of reminding one another that our life does not end on this earth, but that we who believe in the Risen Christ will also be resurrected. However, the belief in our resurrection does not only refer to a reward somewhere after the end of time, at the end of the ages, at the Savior’s second coming, to a resurrection which will take place only then, together with the entire creation, but this belief actually illumines our earthly life. We Christians also live our lives in conformity with this belief in resurrection, knowing well that our resurrection will also mean that we will be judged for the way we have lived our Christian lives.
The Holy Apostle Peter speaks about Christ’s Resurrection as the wellspring of Christian life, but at the same time as the goal of our earthly sojourn: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:3-5). Christ’s Resurrection has caused us to be born again, says St. Peter, assuring us that through baptism, the second birth, we are already living another life, different from our life before baptism. Through baptism we receive reconciliation with God, the chance to have a life lived in communion with God in the Church. St. Peter calls this opportunity a living hope, of an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away. We have this living hope through Christ’s Resurrection, of which we are made partakers through baptism. Through immersion in the waters of baptism, each of us dies and is resurrected with Christ. We die to the old life, the sinful one, the life of separation from God, and we are raised to the new life, which is lived with God. As a result of this gift at baptism, we are protected by the power of God through faith for salvation, continuing in the words of St. Peter.
This power of God which is demonstrated through faith and which brings us to salvation is poured out upon the Christian in the Holy Mysteries of the Church. Through the Mysteries we receive in a visible form the unseen grace of Christ which strengthens us in our Christian life. And this grace is, in fact, the love of God which is imparted to us as the fruit of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross and His Resurrection. For Christ offered Himself in the name of all humanity in order to regain the love of God. And God the Father responded to this gesture of self-offering with His love and His power, raising up the Christ-Man from the dead. The Body which had been offered as a sacrifice was resurrected by the power of God. And this is the power and love which are poured out upon us in every Holy Mystery. This means that in the Mysteries of the Church every Christian partakes of the saving power of the Resurrected Christ.
At the prayers which come after our communion with the Body and Blood of the Savior, the priest says, “O Christ, great and most holy Pascha; O Wisdom, Word and Power of God: Grant that we may more perfectly partake of You in the never-ending day of Your kingdom.” In communion, we receive already now the Wisdom and Word and Power of God. This communion with God in this life brings us a vision of God, a spiritual vision which guides us on the path of salvation. For the Apostle Peter goes on in this same catholic epistle to say, Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9). St. Peter speaks to us clearly about obtaining salvation through this vision, a result of faith in the Resurrection of Christ and the power which we receive in the Mysteries. This salvation will be granted at the end of the ages.
Christ Himself assures of these things: For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day (John 6:40). This is the plan of salvation prepared by God the Father. The Sacrifice on the Cross and the Resurrection of the Incarnate Son is the basis of the vision of God. And this vision brings us to an eternal life which is already beginning now, the eternity of which we will partake more perfectly in the never-ending day of the
As we proclaim to one another the Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ, we remember these meanings of our earthly life. For we do not only proclaim our faith and hope that we will rise again at the Second Coming of the Lord; we encourage one another to desire to see the Risen Son, the vision which brings us eternal life already. Confessing the Lord’s Resurrection, we affirm that we already live in a new world, a world renewed by the Resurrection, a world which will receive its completion and perfection at the end of the ages. This proclamation and this confession show us to be true workers in the
I wish you all, priests and faithful of our Archdiocese, that you may spend the Holy Feast of the Lord’s Resurrection with inexpressible and glorious joy, in a living hope, for Christ the Lord has conquered death and granted us the Resurrection. I hope to see you all, priests and delegates of the parishes, at the Archdiocesan Congress in
I embrace you in Christ the Risen Lord and I wish you a Blessed Pascha!
Christ is risen!
Your brother in prayer to God,
Chicago, The Feast of the Lord’s Resurrection, 2010