To the Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America,
Dear Beloved Children in the Lord,
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
I greet you in the joy of the Resurrection on this “chosen and holy day, first of sabbaths, king and lord of days, the feast of feasts, holy day of holy days” (Paschal Canon, Ode 8). Great and Holy Pascha truly is the “king and lord of days.” On this day our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ shines with the victory of life over death, life which is given by Him as a gift to the whole human race. Amidst the daily news that prompts feelings of anxiety and despair, the present feast offers us our only true help. We take comfort that, in His great love for mankind, our Lord has forever banished the futile senselessness of death, which is the “last enemy” (1 Cor 15:26). Our slavery to fear and sin and death is abolished by the King of Glory, “The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Ps 23:8).
The dark and gloomy grave is now filled with light. We have no need to fear death—our Lord has vanquished it. At this time, the world seems to lie in the darkness of conflict, pain, and grief. Yet, even now, with God helping us, we can face whatever our circumstances may be with the holy joy and Paschal strength that comes from firm conviction and faith in the Risen Christ.
In the overwhelming might of Christ’s Resurrection, the strong man is bound forever (Mk 3:27); and in God’s providence, we know that He will “make the evil to be good by [His] goodness” (Anaphora of Saint Basil the Great). It is our Lord’s unfailing promise of new and eternal life which allows this day to rule all of the days which God may give us on earth. In the brightness of Pascha, even these dark days we now endure are mere servants to this feast of feasts.
On this Paschal day, my prayer is that you allow the joyful light of Christ fully into your hearts. In the coming days of celebration, let all men and women see this spiritual light shining from you, and let them hear your evangelical proclamation that “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.”
I remain sincerely yours in Christ,
Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada