Archpastoral Encyclical For Pascha 2011
To the Very Reverend and Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Diocesan Board of Trustees, the Parish Councils of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the USA, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Members of the National A.C.R.Y. and all the Youth, the Seminarians of Christ the Savior, and the entire Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Family in America and Canada:
CHRIST IS RISEN! CHRISTOS VOSKRESE! CHRISTOS ANESTI!
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With these words of praise and glory I greet all of you on the bright and joyous Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lent, which was made all the more heavy by the passing of our beloved brother, and your dear father in Christ, the late Metropolitan Nicholas, now is filled with hope, the hope of the Resurrection.
As the God-saved Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, all of you knew the spiritual protection and paternal love of Metropolitan Nicholas. Let it be a comfort and healing consolation for all of you, that he now lives in the light of the Resurrection, enjoying the foretaste of the good things to come, which are reserved for the righteous and the saints.
It is this foretaste of glory that we ourselves experience in the sacred and somber services of Holy Week that culminate in the Holy and Great Pascha. We live through the Saving Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through Baptism, descend into the Tomb with Him, so that we may attain unto the Glorious Resurrection. As the Holy Apostle Paul says in his Epistle to the Romans, if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will live with Him (6:8). Each year, the Pascha of the Lord greets us – a foreshadowing of His Second Coming Again, and a hope-filled promise of the Eternal Life that our God offers to us.
When we greet each other with the salutation, "Christ is Risen!" we proclaim more than the Resurrection of our Lord nearly two thousand years ago. We proclaim more than our belief in His power, glory and majesty. We proclaim more than a doctrine that has been passed down to us over generations and generations from our fathers and forefathers. As Orthodox Christians, we proclaim our own experience of the life in Christ that bears witness to our own eventual resurrection and His gift to us of Eternal Life. The Apostle affirms this in no uncertain terms in his First Epistle to the Corinthians:
Behold, I tell you a mystery! We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet! For, the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed. For this corruptible must be clothed with incorruption, and this mortal must be clothed with immortality. Then, the word that was written will come about, "Death has been swallowed up in victory!" "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" (15:51-55)
Therefore, beloved faithful of the Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese, be of good cheer on this glorious Day. Be filled with hope and expectation of the blessing of God upon your lives and upon your Diocese. The quarter of a century of leadership of the late Metropolitan Nicholas was a very bright period of tremendous achievements, and together with Ecumenical Patriarchate, we shall work to find another worthy pastor to lead this flock of Christ. Fill your churches with song and praise, sing with your voices as you always have and always will:
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
With warm paternal love in the Risen Christ,
Archbishop of America
Locum Tenens of the American Carpatho-Russian
Orthodox Diocese of the USA
Exarch of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
This Sermon is to be read in lieu of the homily at the Paschal Divine Liturgy April 24, 2011