Paschal Encyclical 2013

Paschal Message 2013

To the Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians in North and South America

It is the day of resurrection let us be radiant O ye peoples.

Beloved children in the Lord,

The Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ is the central event of all human history. It is for this reason that the day of the week on which this event occurred is called “the Lord’s day” in Greek, Russian, Spanish, and other languages. Christians have always kept Sunday, the first day of the week, as a holy day throughout the year in honor of the Resurrection. We also fast on Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year in memory of Christ’s betrayal and Crucifixion. During Great and Holy Week we remember the events which occurred 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem; from the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, His betrayal, Crucifixion and Resurrection. We relive these events noetically through the Divine Services of the Church which always expresses itself through prayer. It is not simply a remembrance of historical events, but a reliving so that through these annual ecclesiastical remembrances the life of Christ can be made manifest in our own lives, as St. Paul says “I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

The Resurrection of Christ, Holy Pascha, is the greatest feast of Christendom, for this reason it is called the Feast of feasts, and Festival of festivals. This is why we celebrate it every Sunday throughout the year, and why the period of preparation for it is so extensive, starting with the Triodion, and continuing with the Great Fast, and Great and Holy Week. We prepare so intensely, and celebrate so joyously because we are celebrating the victory which Christ has given to man over the dominion of death. The Pre-eternal Word of God became flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord in order to save mankind from their sins, to become the First-born of the dead. Since He arose from the dead, we will all arise from the dead. Christ has told us “the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear My voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-9) The Church refers to the Resurrection of Christ in the Funeral and Memorial Services, because we Orthodox Christians live in the hope of the resurrection of the dead and eternal life.

Brethren,

The victory over death has already been given unto us by Christ Himself on the day of Holy Pascha. Let the hope of the resurrection fill our lives, and may we rejoice with Christ our immortal King and God forever in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Your fervent intercessor before the Lord,

+ Pavlos of America

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