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Archiepiscopal Encyclical for Holy Pascha 2018
New York, NY
Protocol No. 42/18
April 8, 2018
The Feast of Feasts
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!
Today as we proclaim, "It is the Day of Resurrection," we glorify God, and we shout with resounding joy because it is the Day of life. Our Risen Lord is victorious over death. By His glorious Resurrection, Christ has shown the unlimited power of God as the Source and Giver of life; and because of His love for us, He has brought us from death unto life, and from earth unto Heaven. Life is restored by our Creator to all that it was meant to be! Life abundant and eternal is ours!
The Risen Lord stands before us on this holiest of days saying, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. (John 11:25-26) Life beyond the grave has been revealed. The fear of death has been dispelled in the light and power of the Resurrection. In this glorious light we ask with Saint Paul, O death where is your victory? death where is your sting? (1 Corinthians 15:55) We proclaim our joy, because this perishable nature can put on imperishability, and this mortal nature can put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53) Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of God has come, and we shall live forever.
In the blessings of this Feast of feasts, from the promises of our own resurrection and eternal life, we see that our earthly life is transformed. We are offered abundant, fulfilling, and purposeful life. We are called by the Risen Lord to embrace this life. Through our faith in Him and the power of the Resurrection, we are a new creation. Our lives are transformed, as the old passes away and all things are made new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Today, we are called to put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:24)
Our response to this gift of life is worship and praise. We have beheld the Resurrection. We have witnessed the impossible. We have seen the power of God, We have come to worship Him who trampled death and gives us life. May this Feast of Holy Pascha be filled with joy and light. May your fellowship in Christ be blessed in your parishes and homes, and may the true and abundant life you have found in the Resurrection be visible to all the world!
Christ is risen! He truly is risen!
With paternal love in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of America