Pascha 2002 (English)
PATRIARCHAL MESSAGE FOR THE FEAST OF PASCHA
BY THE GRACE OF GOD POPE AND PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA AND ALL AFRICA TO ALL MEMBERS OF OUR HOLY CHURCH; MAY THE GRACE, PEACE AND MERCY OF THE RESURRECTED SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST BE WITH ALL
"Let no one mourn that he hath fallen again and again; for forgiveness hath risen from the tomb...Christ is risen and the angels rejoice, Christ is risen and life is liberated" (Sermon of St John Chrysostom).
My beloved children in Christ,
Once again the Church is illumined by the "eternal light of the Resurrection" and from her foundation, the empty life-giving Tomb, preaches to all the joyous message of this great feast: "CHRIST IS RISEN".
God so loved man, that He endured the Passion, the Cross and Hades. By His Resurrection on the third day He crushed the bondage of sin and death, granting the world new life, joy and peace.
We are all children and heirs of the promise of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection. We once again experience this great and glorious miracle and event of our Faith. At the same time we reconsider and reassess our position.
Are we in the same psychological state as his fearful disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem or that of those on the road to Emmaus? Are we possessed with fear, faint-heartedness and disillusionment? Toady, even if this should be the case, the Resurrected Jesus walks with us through the closed doors, on the path of doubts and bitter thoughts.
Through the Light of the Resurrection morality restores its position. The true meaning and expression of the Cross is established and it finds its genuine dimension and rightful place.
Beyond the Tomb is the redeeming intervention of God and the Life-giving Resurrection.
Before, if everything was considered lost through death and eternal silence, today all is victorious and "truly all creatures have been filled with light; heaven and earth" (3rd Ode from the Service of Matins of the Sunday of Great and Holy Pascha).
Living with the eternal expectation of the "dawning of the first day of the week" (John 20:19), with hope despite the struggle of the Cross, we enter the glorious land of His joy and peace.
Yesterday, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into Hades. Today He returns as a deliverer, an angel of peace, a granter of joy, an anchor of hope, a leader of a new incorrupt and eternal life.
The Resurrection is a creative action of God's majesty and omnipotence. It destroys death and raises the living and the dead before the divine judgment seat.
Seeing the miracle of the Resurrection from this point of view, contemporary man can hope for redemption. Until today he was self-governed, denouncing the metaphysical dimension of his life, guided by the vanity of his achievements, writing his history with the absence of God.
Desperate, man approaches the truth of Kierkegaard words: "humanity will enter great darkness because it will have lack of hope, which means lack of faith, that logic will have killed."
However, the eternal hope of the Resurrection came and brought life and truth to time.
For this reason, life is a cross, because the horizontal eternal course of man to salvation and mercy is vertically cut by time and history.
Indeed, man, on his course to be delivered from sin and on his return to former blessedness, has always had great hope, even in the time before Jesus Christ, depending on created gods and philosophical searches, or on his self-sufficiency. However, whenever he sowed such hopes, he reaped despair.
Behold, the light has come to bring an end, even temporarily, to the swift pace, noise and confusion of our works and aspirations and to enable us to see our internal state.
Beneath the shining light of the Resurrection we can question ourselves, review everything around us. We can understand once again how we can have peace and joy in Christ through repentance, good works and faith in the Resurrected Lord. Further, we can see an explanation of the marvels and events in our lives that have remained secret and inexplicable. We can posses consolation and hope for everything invisible and intangible, which will become visible and tangible on the awesome Day of Judgment. We can live in great joy because man rises from the earthly to a fitting spiritual entity.
My beloved children in Christ of the blessed African continent, having all this in our minds and hearts, we walk a difficult path as a Missionary and Martyr Church.
The message of the Resurrection, which is the message of evangelisation today, is essentially a message of peace and hope. This, which takes root in the receptive African land, as our brothers and sisters fight the good fight to establish much-desired eternal peace. This peace comes in the name of the salvific Light from the empty Tomb, amidst civil strife and disaster.
At this sacred time, the Resurrected Lord offers all of us the answer to this civil strife and disaster. This key, the mystery to the solution of this tragedy, the Resurrected Lord offers saying: "I know the motivation of your boldness. And yet even if you are able to follow the path to Golgotha, you also must possess the spirit of Golgotha, otherwise you will not benefit".
My beloved children in Christ, the reply to the first Paschal greeting "CHRIST IS RISEN" is a response of faith, strength and hope. It sweetens the bitter struggle of the earthly life in which exist chaos, struggle, stress, threats of wars, uncertainty, loneliness and disharmony of human relationships.
We all hear the "divine, beloved and sweet voice" (9th Ode of the Service of Matins of the Sunday of Great and Holy Pascha), of the Resurrected Christ and His promise that He will be "with us to the end of time as an anchor of hope" to which “we believers hold as we sing, rejoicing” (9th Ode of the Service of Matins of the Sunday of Great and Holy Pascha), "TRULY THE LORD IS RISEN"!
"To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen" (Sermon of St John Chrysostom).
With the ardent blessings of the Lord who is Risen from the dead.
+ Petros VII
By the Grace of God
Pope & Patriarch of Alexandria & All Africa
In the Great City of Alexandria
HOLY PASCHA 2002