April 15, 2012
The Feast of Feasts
Come, on this auspicious day of the Resurrection,
let us partake of the new fruit of the vine
of divine gladness and of the Kingdom of Christ,
praising Him as God unto the ages.
(Hymn of the Canon of Holy Pascha)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!
As we gather to celebrate this great Feasts of Feasts, and together we experience the supreme joy of Holy Pascha, we offer our praise to God for His abundant grace and for the triumph of our Savior Jesus Christ over the power of sin and death. In a magnificent revelation of His invincible might, our Risen Lord has defeated all that corrupts and destroys our human existence. Through His compassionate sacrifice and Holy Resurrection, He has reconciled us to our Creator. By trampling down death by death and dispelling its darkness with the light of true life, He leads us to salvation and eternal communion with God.
On this day and in the celebration of Holy Pascha, we are blessed in so many ways. We are called by the hymnological canon of the feast to “partake of the new fruit of the vine of divine gladness and of the Kingdom of Christ.” The Holy Resurrection of our Lord affirms that as the True Vine, He is the source of life. He has made it possible and now guides us in being connected to His presence and the power of His Resurrection through faith.
The Resurrection of Christ has also blessed us with the light of the absolute truth. The bondage to falsehood and error has been vanquished by the power of the Gospel of truth. False ideologies, wrong philosophies, and evil machinations have been discredited and dispelled by the brilliance of divine wisdom. The deceptions of this world of sin and corruption have been exposed in all their evilness thanks to the illumination of our minds with the sacred, holy, and eternal truth revealed by Christ.
These blessings, this fruit of Pascha that is produced in our lives as the Risen Lord is in our midst, are not for us alone. They are a witness of the grace and power of God through our worship, and they are blessings we are called to share with all of humanity. In the joy and light of this day, our hearts are so filled with gladness that we cannot but speak of things we have seen and heard. Our attitudes, words, and actions, our response to the needs of others reveal a source of strength, love and peace. Our lives are a witness of Pascha, guiding all around us to encounter a Risen and Redeeming Christ.
On this most sacred of days, this Feast of Great and Holy Pascha, I wish you and your families the fullness of the joy and blessings that are offered to us by God through our Risen Lord Jesus Christ. May this fullness of joy fill your hearts and may the light of grace and truth shine through your lives offering to all a witness of the transforming power of Christ’s Resurrection.
With paternal love in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of America