GERMAN DIOCESE: May 8, 2019
Paschal Epistle of Archbishop Mark of Berlin and Germany, Vice President of the Synod of Bishops
"A Pascha of purification, and as the glorious Sun of Righteousness, He has shone upon us again from the grave” (Paschal Canon 4).
Christ is Risen!
These two words overthrew the world. The Resurrection of Christ called doomed mankind back to life. Christ and His oikonomia [stewardship—transl.], the path to salvation He established—is the sole thing new under the Sun.
Before Christ and without Christ, the world is a cemetery from one end to the other; according to St Justin of Chelije, it is a “charnel.” Man without God is a corpse, for as the Holy Apostle says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
In our 21st century, he who turns away from Christ walks in the gloom of death. In kindergarten, in school, in universities, in our personal, professional and social lives, sin is offered to us, and moreover, it is called “normal.” Meanwhile, those to whom the fates of society are entrusted, who should properly tend to spiritual development, instead, wandering in the search of some other kind of humanity—without Christ—lead the peoples to spiritual death.
That which in contemporary society is presented to us as true moral basics, in reality is hypocrisy and deceit, betrayal and is inhuman corruption—physical, emotional and spiritual.
But open to all is the Sole Source of all goodness—Christ. That is why we confess: “The Light of Christ illuminates all!” We rejoice over receiving the light of Christ’s Resurrection, life in Christ. Christ died and was risen for our sake, and for our benefit. He also raised up us corpses. He has made us His co-victors over death, eternal witnesses of the renewal of human nature. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
We are called upon to immerse ourselves in this new life, that life which those who live apart from Christ cannot even understand. We give ourselves over to His most-pure hands, and do not submit to the devil, who once lied to mankind, deceived our ancestors, promising them that they “shall be as gods” (Genesis 3:5). Adam and Eve fell victim to this lie. And in the centuries that followed, mankind sought and found gods for themselves, false idols such as pragmatic intellect, philosophical speculation, technical progress and material abundance. Before our very eyes they erect seemingly new, but in reality the same old, idols. They are intolerant, always militant; beneath their benevolent image lie all sorts of perversions which the Word of God rejects. A day does not pass that we don’t hear of new disgraces; our moral sense is assaulted from the earliest years; the cruel baiting, the suppression and destruction of those who disagree with the spirit of the times, which is the lack of spirituality. Governments that call themselves secular allow themselves to delve into the realm of faith, imposing church divisions, as we see happening now in Ukraine and Montenegro. And all of this ostensibly in the name of progress, of some higher truth.
We Christians, once but corpses, know that there is only one Truth, Christ. There is one guidebook for morality: His Gospel. There is one path to salvation: the Church of Christ. Living in Christ, we reject all that is sinful, old, dark and lethal. In the Resurrected—and resurrecting!—Christ, we carry within ourselves that Newness which never ages or crumbles, but eternally renews us and grants us immortality. It is only in Christ that “progress” is possible, and only with Him does all become “the new creation.” From Him we receive a new heart, a new soul and new mind. And the older and more mature we become, the more we will be renewed, for we will grow in Christ: “unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). A Christian is an ever-new person, resurrected for eternity and no longer subject to death and corruption. Our challenge in this world is to follow the Apostles and bear witness to this Truth:
Christ is Risen—and idols fell!
Christ is Risen—and life reigns!
Christ is Risen—and man is raised!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Archbishop of Berlin and Germany
Pascha of Christ 2019