NEW YORK: May 5, 2008
His Eminence Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand Sends a Greeting to the Participants of the Paschal Celebrations on Bright Saturday
Your Graces, Most Reverend Vladyki!
Honorable Fathers, Dear-in-the-Lord Brothers and Sisters!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
It is with profound spiritual joy that I greet my Most Reverend Brethren, Bishop Merkury of Zaraisk and Bishop Gabriel of Manhattan along with the many reverend fathers and worshipers who pray together today and commune of one Chalice of Life in the historic St Nicholas Cathedral in New York. I congratulate you on the continuing celebration of the world-saving and bright Resurrection of the Divine Lover of Mankind, Who defeated death and dispersed the darkness that doomed mankind!
The Holy Church heralds the Eternal Life, which began with the Arising of Christ from the dead. Revelations of renewed life for mankind were varied in their power, and in them the path to approaching God is shown. St Mary Magdalene, Equal-to-the-Apostles, sees the open tomb of the Savior and does not yet realize what this means. For each of us, this is the beginning of the path. Apostles Peter and John saw the same thing, but they already began to believe. Mary Magdalene sees the Lord, but cannot touch Him. The travelers to Emmaus, Luke and Cleophas, recognize Christ, but then lose sight of Him. Finally, the Apostles and Holy Myrrh-bearers were able to see the new life of the Resurrection, that is, that of the eighth day, which will arrive for us upon the common resurrection of the dead; yet it is not yet granted to us, only promised to us by the Savior. So now, we are given the foretaste of this new life, the eternal life, and our entire life is a path towards it. We touch upon it through prayer, through the Word of God, the Mysteries of the Church, the podvigi of love, humility, brotherly love and peace.
Today's bright holiday and joint celebration of Pascha by the archpastors and clergymen of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia and the Moscow Patriarchate is a manifestation of our drawing nearer to this eternal life. Therefore I hasten to congratulate all the participants of this feast with this great joy, and I prayerfully wish all of you to share this joy with everyone who has not yet approached it. Share this joy not so much in word as by example, and by performing the podvig of introducing peace within our relationships, and humility, patience, understanding and brotherly love. May the good Christian life become our sermon not only of the truth of the Resurrection of Christ, but the also of the fruits of our unity within this Truth. Let others wonder at this celebration of life, this shining of the Life-bearing Tomb of the Lord in our eyes, in our lives and in the reestablishment of the fullness of brotherly communion within the one Local Russian Orthodox Church, which was achieved with the help of God. Then, if God grants, others will merge into the joy of our unity and "rejoice over the triumph of the reestablishment of the Russian Orthodox Church" (from the opening sermon given by St John [Maximovich] of Shanghai and San Francisco at the Diocesan Conference in Western Europe in 1960).
With Paschal joy in the Resurrected Christ, I ask your prayers,
Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand
Locum Tenens of the President of the Synod of Bishops
Bright Saturday 2008