Archpastoral Letter For Pascha 2013
Prot. No. 10
Very Reverend Protopresbyters, Very Reverend and
Reverend Fathers, and the Faithful of our God-Protected Diocese:
IS RISEN! INDEED, HE IS RISEN!
On this great and glorious feast of Pascha—the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our hearts are filled with tremendous joy, our souls are transformed and we bask in the Light of Truth. I wish to share with you the inspiring, uplifting and brilliant homily of our Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom.
THE PASCHAL HOMILY OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM
If there are devout and God loving people here, let them enjoy this beautiful, radiant festival. If there are prudent servants, enter joyously into the Lord's joy. Whoever may be spent from fasting, enjoy now your reward. Whoever has toiled from the first hour, receive today your just settlement. If any came after the third hour, celebrate gratefully. If any of you arrived after the sixth, have no misgivings, you have lost nothing. If some have been as late as the ninth, come forward, do not be at a loss. If any of you have arrived only at the eleventh hour, do not be dismayed for being late.
TheMaster is gracious: He accepts the last even as the first; He gives rest to those of the eleventh as well as to those who have labored from the first; He is lenient with the last while looking after the first; to the one He gives, to the other He gives freely; He accepts the labors and welcomes the effort; honors the deed, but commends the intent. So, all of you, enter into the joy of our Lord; first and second, share the bounty. Rich and poor alike, celebrate together. Sober or heedless, honor the day. Those who fasted and those who did not, rejoice today. The table is full, everyone fare sumptuously. The calf is fatted; no one go away hungry. Everyone, savor the banquet of faith, relish the riches of His goodness.
No one need lament poverty, for the kingdom is seen as universal. No one need grieve over sins; forgiveness has dawned from the tomb. No one need fear death; the Savior's death has freed us from it. While its captive He stifled it. He despoiled Hades and He descended into it; it was angered when it tasted His flesh. Foreseeing this, Isaiah proclaimed: "Hades," he said, "was angered when he met You below." It was angered because it was abolished. It was angered because it was mocked. It was angered because it was slain. It was angered because it was shackled. It received a body and encountered God. It took earth and came face to face with heaven. It took what it saw and fell by what it could not see. Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory? Christ is risen and you are overthrown. Christ is risen and demons have fallen. Christ is risen and angels rejoice. Christ is risen and life rules. Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the tomb. For Christ, having risen from the dead, has become the first fruits of those that slept. To Him be the glory and the dominion, forever. Amen
May all the Priests and Panis, Deacons, Parishioners, Friends and Supporters of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese experience the joy, excitement and wonder of the early followers of Christ when they first saw Him following His Resurrection. Christ is Risen!
Greetings from Johnstown with much love.
+His Grace Bishop Gregory of Nyssa
To be read as the sermon in all churches of the Diocese at the Paschal Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ.