Metropolitan Tikhon’s 2020 Paschal Message

Source: OCA

To the Venerable Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

Today we celebrate the feast of feasts, the radiant joyful feast of the Lord’s Resurrection. He became a man like us, and was crucified, suffered, and was buried for us. And today, after three days in the tomb, He rises from the dead, offering us all the promise of Resurrection unto eternal life.

Our life in the Resurrection begins even now. Although we still live in the flesh, we should not live according to the flesh, only thinking of our own bodily needs and desires. Jesus Christ’s Resurrection calls us, regardless of our situation in life, to live spiritually mature lives even now. The essence of such a spiritual life is to lay down one’s life for others, in imitation of Christ who died for the benefit of all. This is the calling of the new life that Christ’s Resurrection gives us: “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).”

This year, our Paschal celebration comes in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and not one of us is experiencing the full celebration of the services. A few are present at the limited services, while the majority are praying along at home. Yet all of us, wherever we find ourselves, can live according to the Resurrection by putting others’ needs before our own. In the Old Covenant, in the same breath in which God urged His people to “keep His Sabbaths,” He also urged them to remember the poor and the sojourner, and leave portions of their grain and grapes to them (Leviticus 19:3-10). May we too, in keeping the Lord’s Pascha, the First of Sabbaths, remember the poor and needy, the sick and suffering before ourselves, particularly at this time of the economic turmoil caused by the Coronavirus. As many of us are unable to commune of the heavenly Bread of Christ’s Body at this time as is customary, let us at least focus on ensuring that our brothers and sisters around us have enough common bread: food and other basic needs. In so doing, we will follow Christ’s example, who made sure that the thousands had enough food to eat, and who worked to heal the diseased and the sick.

My beloved children in Christ, the manner in which we celebrate Pascha this year, whether in our homes or in limited services, should suggest to no one that our Lord’s Pascha has been canceled or in any way diminished. Giving thanks to Christ for the mystery of his salvation, let us all boldly cry out in full knowledge and assurance, “Christ is Risen!” Let us respond, indeed, by courageously walking in the “newness of life” that Christ gives us today.

Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!

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