Holy Pascha 2006
Ref. No. 1220
BY THE MERCY OF GOD, POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AND ALL AFRICA,
TO THE FAITHFUL OF OUR APOSTOLIC AND PATRIARCHAL THRONE, GRACE AND MERCY AND PEACE FROM OUR LORD AND GOD AND SAVIOUR, JESUS CHRIST, WHO HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD.
For Christ our God has transferred us from death to life, and from earth to heaven."
Beloved and blessed children of the Lord,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Today we celebrate the glorious Resurrection of the Lord and we rejoice as "the apostles rejoiced on seeing the Lord" (Jn 20:20). The Church, the Bride of Christ, rejoices and venerates the Cross and glorifies the Resurrection. With the Resurrection, the whole meaning of the divine revelation is fulfilled. The Resurrection of the Lord is the death of death. It frees humanity from the snare of darkness and corruption. It testifies God's great love toward humanity. With the great mystery of His Incarnation, His voluntary sacrifice and His Resurrection, God forgives the fall of our forefather, Adam. God redeems us from sin and calls us to Himself, to His eternal Kingdom, to the true place that we ought to occupy as creatures, "in the image and according to likeness", towards the Creator.
It is this meaning of the Resurrection that we celebrate today and the light, that springs forth from the All-holy Tomb, illumines our soul and leads it to the way of rebirth, immortality and incorruptibility. This is why Pascha constitutes "the feast of feasts and festival of festivals", the Primary and Foremost day, on which we celebrate spiritually and not materially, humbly and not loudly and with haste. In order to participate in this celebration within the community of Christ, we must address all with the greeting of our Risen Redeemer, "Peace be to you". If we don't feel this greeting, we have not comprehended the aim of the voluntary sacrifice and Resurrection of the God-man. We have not understood that the peace and life-giving love, as opposed to fragmenting fear, the unity of all in Christ as opposed to the individualistic error of dividing self-profit, give joy to our souls with the light of the glorious Resurrection. They enter our hearts, as He entered, "the doors being closed", among His disciples so that they may inspire with the grace of His Holy Spirit.
Humanity today finds itself, once again, before the "Empty Tomb". It does not complain, it does not weep and it does not even seek the Risen Jesus. It does not confess, as one of the Myrrh-bearers, "I do not know where they have placed Him." Humanity is indifferent to the meaning of the Resurrection and is empty of the power of the Christian faith. Our times are characterised by the absence of values, the agony of the soul and spiritual emptiness. Contemporary humanity drowns in the violence of war and terrorism, alienation and suspicion, avarice and uncontrolled and self-serving ambition.
Every moment strangles every lofty ideal and everything noble and divine that exists in the human soul. At the same time, humanity seeks peace and happiness through treaties and agreements that are applied externally and consist of coincidental gains. The Risen Christ stands before this chaotic situation. He offers true tranquillity and peace that first has to be established in our souls through love towards our fellow man.
My beloved and blessed children of the Lord - Greeks, Arabs and Africans -throughout the African continent,
From the Great City of Alexandria, but always spiritually present among you and raising the candle of the Resurrection, I wish heartfully that its Holy Light always nests in your hearts and illumines your spirit in thinking what is virtuous, your lips in preaching His love and your actions in assisting and alleviating the pains of our suffering fellow man.
The Lord is truly risen!
THEODOROS II OF ALEXANDRIA
In the Great City of Alexandria
Holy Pascha 2006