Pastoral Message for Great and Holy Pascha
April 12, 2015
Let the heavens rejoice and the earth be glad, as is meet; and let the whole world, visible and invisible, feast; for Christ hath risen to everlasting joy. -- (from the 1st Ode of the Paschal Canon)
Christ is Risen! Truly, He is Risen!
We greet you with great joy and love as we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are reminded by the hymn quoted above that the entire universe rejoices in this singular event which brings new life to all creation. Even the current state of violence and hatred which plagues this world is shattered to pieces by the Lord’s descent into Hades and his resurrection from the dead. We ask all of the faithful to continue to pray for the two abducted bishops, Metropolitan Paul, and Archbishop Youhanna, and the victims of violence around the world, especially in Syria and in the entire region. The victory of our Lord Jesus Christ over the powers of death, and the hope of new life are indeed our only consolation during these troubled times. The triumph of this Paschal season strengthens our faith and renews our hope. Let us therefore rejoice with the heavens and celebrate with the entire universe on this, the Feast of feasts!
Praying that the Light of the Empty Tomb will bring us the joy and peace that can only come from above, I remain,
Yours in Christ,
+ J O S E P H
Archbishop of New York and Metropolitan of All North America
Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archidiocese of North America