for the Year 1922
by His Beatitude, the Most Blessed
Metropolitan Antony (Khrapovitsky)
Christ is risen!
Brethren, Russians and all Orthodox Christians, beloved in Christ!
The grace-filled day of the resurrection of Christ has arrived,
when our faith is strengthened, hope increases, and holy love
shines forth. On this day, even the wicked become good, the
envious joyful, the despondent are comforted. And those who
before were firm believers and lovers of their brethren are
today filled with compunctionate ecstasy, and desire to embrace
the whole world, and greet even those whom yesterday they considered
And so we chant in church It is the day of the Resurrection!
Let us adorn ourselves with the splendor of the festival and
embrace one another! And let us say, O brethren, even unto those
who hate us: Let us forgive all things at the Resurrection,
and thus let us cry out: Christ is risen from the dead, trampling
down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life!
Note, beloved brethren, that such grace-filled joy on the day
of Holy Pascha, such a spiritual gift, is given by God only
to Orthodox Christians. Other faiths, even those whose followers
also call themselves Christians (for example, the Roman Catholics,
the Greek Catholics, the Protestants), although they also observe
the feast of the resurrection of Christ, experience nothing
similar, but celebrate it the way they do all their other feasts.
Only the Russians and the other Orthodox Christians are filled
with grace-bearing joy, love and universal forgiveness on this
holy and great day, and in this you may see the rightness of
our Faith, the Truth of our Church.
When, fifty or a hundred years before Saint Vladimir, there
came to Kiev from Constantinople an Orthodox preacher, who demonstrated
to the people the holiness of the Gospel, our pagan ancestors
said to him: We feel in our hearts that thou speakest
the truth; but if this book is from God, cast it into the fire:
if it doth not burn, we will be fully convinced by thy preaching
and will accept baptism. Having prayed, the preacher threw
the Holy Gospel into the fire, and it remained unharmed: even
the ribbons set in it did not burn.
And now also, if they ask us what proof you can offer for the
superiority and genuineness of the Orthodox Faith, answer those
who ask: Go to our church on Holy Pascha night, when Christs
victory over the falsehood of Judaism, over the death to which
we were condemned for the sin of our forefather Adam and for
our own sins, is glorified; come hear the paschal singing; come
look at the faces of those who pray, and you will perceive in
them a reflection of the grace of Christ, you will see what
a manifest gift of grace is instilled in the hearts of the faithful,
how on this day their souls are purified of sins, and how the
words of the catechetical homily of Saint John Chrysostom, which
are read at Matins, are fulfilled in them: Let all enjoy
the banquet of faith, let all receive the riches of goodness.
Let no-one lament his poverty, for our common kingship hath
been made manifest. Let no-one mourn his transgressions, for
forgiveness hath shone forth from the tomb. Let no-one fear
death, for the death of the Savior hath set us free.
Whence comes the joy which we are vouchsafed on the night of
Holy Pascha? This, my brother Christians, is a gift of Gods
grace, which is poured forth into our hearts directly from God.
On this day, the Lord, when He has opened paradise by His resurrection,
gives to the children of the Church to taste, in part, that
very joy which the souls of the saved are vouchsafed in paradise.
And this joy, which is given to the children of the Church and
is not given to heretics and renegadesfor whom the Church
is not their mother and God is not their Fatheris clear
proof of the rightness of our Orthodox Church, as the holy fathers
Are you aware that when many of the heterodoxLutherans,
Latins, Anglicanscome to our church on the night of Holy
Pascha, say: Here we see that the grace of God is with
the Orthodox: only children of the true Church are able to rejoice
in Christ in this way, for it pours forth grace from the Lord
upon them. And it often happens that, having attended
our paschal Matins and Liturgy, the heterodox convert to the
Orthodox Faith, as it was in the days of the holy apostles,
when an unbeliever, entering the assembly of praying and prophesying
Christians, was also imbued with grace and said: Truly
God is with you (cf. I Cor. 14: 1-25).
During these holy days, we are friends of Christ and do not
render servile homage to Him as do the Catholics, Uniates and
Protestants, but glorify His resurrection with a full, gracious
joy, as sons; and filling each other with love as brethren we
lovingly kiss all our acquaintances thrice on the lips, saying:
Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen! And thus also
does the priest greet Christians when he censes them and makes
the sign of the holy Cross over them throughout the paschal
Yea, on this day God is with us, and we are with God, not as
condemned slaves, but as brethren of Christ. This is why by
the First Ecumenical Council, and later also at the Sixth Ecumenical
Council, kneeling and prostrations were forbidden from the day
of Holy Pascha through Vespers of Holy Pentecost: for on this
day Christ called the faithful not slaves, but His brothers,
saying to Mary Magdalene: Go to My brethren, and say unto
them: I ascend unto My Father, and your Father; and to
My God, and your God [Jn. 20: 17]. And two days
earlier, He said even more clearly: Henceforth I call
you not servants
but I have called you friends; for all
things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto
you (Jn. 15: 15).
But now has the time come which sanctifies all men and must
break those snares for all who have fallen into the snares of
delusion, and return men to the shelter of the true Orthodox
True, Russian people who have learned little in the semi-Christian
modern schools are barely aware of the saving power of our membership
in the Holy Church, and place value only on abstract belief.
Now exile in foreign lands has opened the eyes of many: Now
hath come the time which sanctifieth all men. We have
understood that only the Orthodox Church has a vital, active
fellowship with heaven, and on the day of Holy Pascha it calls
us to the spiritual banquet with the voice of Saint John Chrysostom:
The table is laden: take delight therein, all of you.
The calf hath been fattened: let no-one depart hungry.
And further on: Christ hath risen, and the demons have
fallen! Christ hath risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ hath
risen, and life is restored! Christ hath risen, and not one
of the dead remaineth in the grave. Let us go to Him from
the graves of our sins and little faith. To Him Who loved
us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made
us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory
and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1: 5-6).