Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Christos Voskrese! Voistinu Voskrese!
Christos Anesti! Aleithos Anesti!
The Resurrection of our Lord brings great joy to the hearts of all His believers. May you find that same joy with the risen Lord that we beheld here on this Holy and Great Pascha!
There is a story I recently heard about a true community of believers in Christ. Our God is not a God of the dead, but of the living. (Mark 12:27). These words ring true each and every day, but there are moments when this reality is revealed to us. One of those days is Pascha as we see Christ trampling down death by death. We see His victory over sin and the dead in the graves arising! Even those who have passed on, our loved ones are alive in Christ. Here is a revelation of Christ’s power over death, and that the community of believers that we are a part of is not separated by an earthly death. All continue to exist and live in Christ as we today should strive with all our hearts to be made alive in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).
“Those who die in Christ: On the day of Pascha in 1935 the abbot of Saint Paul’s Monastery on Mount Athos, Archimandrite Seraphim, and all sixty fathers of the cenobium came out into the courtyard to celebrate the Liturgy of the Resurrection. In a joyful mood and full of enthusiasm after the “Christ is risen!” was proclaimed, the abbot said to one of the simple fathers, “Elder Thomas, go where the relics of the fathers are kept and tell them that Christ is Risen!” “Let it be blessed, Geronda,” he replied, and without a second thought quickly went to the crypt where the bones were kept. “Fathers, I was sent by the abbot to say to you ‘Christ is risen!” he cried out in a loud voice. Then something awesome happened. The bones creaked and jumped. One skull rose up a meter high and answered Father Thomas’ proclamation: “Indeed He is risen!” There was dead silence after that. The elder rushed back to tell all that he had seen and heard. For the fathers of the monastery that was truly a unique Pascha, and praising the Lord and Master of life, they chanted with joy: “Angels are praising your Resurrection in heaven, O Lord! Make us who live on earth to praise you with cleansed heart!” The ever memorable elder Theodosios, the monastery’s late librarian, would often tell the story of this event.” ~From the Athonite Gerontikon
Christ grants life to all, even our earthly death does not separate us from the Church which is His Kingdom. We who are alive now exist within Christ’s Church which is the gathering of all the true believers. We hear in the Matins of Pascha Christ’s power over death! “The souls bound in the chains of Hell, O Christ, seeing Your compassion without measure, pressed onward to the Light, with joy in their feet, exalting the eternal Pascha.” For Christ’s power has freed us from death and granted us eternal life. And this power of the Resurrection overcomes all of us today and grants us joy to leap up and exclaim “Christ is Risen!”
Christ is Risen!
Fr William George