DIOCESE OF GENEVA AND WESTERN EUROPE: May 8, 2008
Paschal Epistle of Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe
CHRIST IS RISEN!
"Let the heavens, as is fitting, rejoice
and let the earth be glad. Let the whole world,
both seen and unseen, keep the feast."
Great joy envelops the hearts of the faithful and of the whole world, seen and unseen. The very spring weather rejoices, awakening and blossoming.
I greet you with all my heart, all the clergymen of our Diocese, parish rectors, protopriests, priests, protodeacons, deacons, wardens and our entire God-loving flock on this Great Feast Day of Feast Days!
The power of the Mystery of Pascha is contained within the resurrection of human souls, tortured and deadened by sin, for the sake of eternal, endless life. This miracle is performed by Christ Himself.
Over the entire duration of Great Lent, beginning with the Sunday of Orthodoxy, to this day, we sorrowfully grieve for the departure from us of our newly-reposed fifth Primate, who was called by God. He went quietly to the Lord, having completed the podvig of prayer throughout his life. By his example, having borne his Cross without grumbling and faithfully serving the good of the Church of Christ, Metropolitan Laurus of blessed memory left in our Church the imprint of a bright monastic life, calling upon us to strive towards perfection in the name of the Resurrected Christ, and in this day, we sense his joyous greeting especially strongly, as we always have.
Victory over evil is only possible when the Power of Love triumphs in all facets of our lives. Vladyka Laurus led the process of reconciliation, and with his own hand signed the Act of the unity of the Russian Church, having defeated the forces of evil and humbly fulfilling the Will of God, as he always did throughout the course of his life. That is the path upon which he called upon each one of us to travel.
Each year we greet Pascha with the joy that we ourselves have triumphed, and we exchange three kisses, exclaiming "Christ is Risen!" On Pascha day, the believer receives from the Lord a feeling of power, of love, of victory, and for this reason we respond with equal fervor:
"INDEED HE IS RISEN!"
+Bishop Michael of Geneva and Western Europe