MOSCOW: April 2, 2010
Paschal Epistle of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia
To the archpastors, pastors, monastics and the entire faithful flock
of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Dear brother archpastors, honorable father presbyters, God-loving deacons, pious monastics, brothers and sisters!
On this bright and world-saving holiday of the Resurrection of the Lord, it is with heartfelt joy that I greet you with the inspiring and ever-great words of the Paschal good news: “Christ is Risen!”
On this luminous night we abide in life-affirming and universal joy, for the event that occurred many centuries ago near ancient Jerusalem directly relates to each one of us. Moreover, the Resurrection of Christ has a truly universal meaning, for the Savior thereby granted the opportunity to obtain grace-filled unity with God to each one who heeds His call: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
For this reason today we cry out together with St John Chrysostom: “Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed!” Celebrating the Bright Resurrection of Christ, we bear witness to the truth of these words, for every person, even the last of sinners, redeemed by the Blood of Christ, has hope for salvation. Our sins, as well as the sins of all mankind, are expiated by the precious blood of the One Who was crucified. In order to receive the fruits of the Redemption, we must have faith and be baptized (Matthew 16:16). Most of our people are baptized, but how few are those who have faith in sufficient measure to transform their lives.
Changing one’s life in Christ does not only mean a change for the better. It is a radical transformation, leading a person to the celebration of life and the fullness of being (John 10:10), both in the life on earth as well as in the coming age.
The feast of Holy Pascha helps us palpably sense the inseparable bond not only with the events of two thousand years ago, but with the coming triumph of “eternal truth” when “God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28). We learn to see in the history of mankind the manifestation of the design of the Creator, realizing the “depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33), with which the All-Generous Creator leads mankind to salvation.
The ability to peer into history in the light of the Resurrection of Christ is especially important today—an epoch of a new world view, when the hopes and dreams of mankind are limited to immediate cares and fleeting time forces mankind today to forget that “the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). Living on the news, the fears and cares of the day, we tend to forget the most important—the salvation of our souls, Divine Providence, the good and the ideal.
The Resurrection of Christ allows us to rise above the fuss of daily life in order to see the true grandeur of Divine love, which came down for the sake of mankind, down to the cross and unto death. This is why it is so important for us to grasp that by His Resurrection, the Lord renews the nature of humanity, granting strength to our inner selves for each Christian in his service of the Church, country, society, family and neighbor.
No small labors fall to the duty of the common man, and of entire nations: today people throughout the world suffer from conflict, from wars, poverty, sickness, loneliness, uncertainty. The world wanders hither and yon in search of a better life, striving to find an answer to its problems in human logic, political techniques or economic recipes. The Church and history itself bear witness to this: that we must live by the Word of God. Then, the meaning of all that is transpiring today will be revealed to us in the light of the Resurrection of Christ, and we will obtain the ability to answer even the most dangerous challenges that face us today.
May the Resurrected Savior breathe into our souls the firm intention to follow His laws!
Let us share with each other the joy of this celebration! Let us warm the hearts of those who suffer today and are in need. Let us address our Paschal greeting to all people: our neighbors, and to those who live afar. Let us not neglectful in laboring towards the good of the nations in which we live.
I raise my fervent prayers to the Lord that He grant us a life of peace and prosperity. May He send to His Church help and strength to earnestly serve the good of the peoples to whom She ministers, that they all grow in faith, hope and love.
Once again I address to you from the depths of my heart this festive greeting of Paschal joy of God, defeating death and bringing all of mankind back to life together with Himself:
Christ is Risen!
Indeed Christ is Risen!
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
Pascha of Christ, 2010