Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion 2016

April 30, 2016

Paschal Epistle of Metropolitan Hilarion 2016

Your Graces, Brother Archpastors, reverend fathers, God-loving monastics, dear in the Lord brothers and sisters, parishioners and worshippers of our churches throughout the world,

CHRIST IS RISEN!

Every year, we are filled with spiritual joy and ecstasy when we hear these words and reverently participate in the exalted solemnity of the Paschal divine services, which remind us of Christ’s glorious victory over sin, evil, and death, for we celebrate “the demise of death, the destruction of hades, the beginning of a new and everlasting life” (from the Paschal Canon). The Most Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), who passed into eternity 80 years ago, penetratingly observed that every feast is a sacrament. And Pascha is “the feast of feasts and triumph of triumphs.” The gracious power of this mystical celebration fills with joy, comforts, strengthens for the bearing of life’s cross, restores one’s inner powers, and imbues one with the spiritual vigilance and undaunted courage to endure all of the sorrows and sufferings that beset us in this life.

The light of Pascha dispels the darkness of doubts and confirms us in faith, as it once did the apostles and other eyewitnesses, who, after the Resurrection of Christ, became ardent and fearless proclaimers of this truth, suffering all manner of persecutions and tortures for it. Ever since, no matter how much persecutors and false teachers, enraged by the successes of Christianity, intensify their efforts to suppress the Holy Church, She always emerges from this conflict victorious and glorious. Thus She has stood unshaken for two millennia, in the full glory of Her Orthodoxy. How many societies and human institutions have disappeared during this period of time; how many kingdoms and governments have been crushed! Only the Orthodox Christian Church has passed unscathed through the passage of centuries, remaining eternally young and ageless.

As the Holy Apostle writes, Christ Himself, Who arose on the third day, is the Head and Cornerstone of the Church (Eph. 2: 20), Who has promised to remain with Her (Matt. 28:20) and Who has given to Her as a legacy the eternal preservation of grace and truth (John 1:17). During terrible times of immorality and the domination of unbelief and heresies, the Orthodox never allowed their spirits to fall, but “remembered that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead” (II Tim. 2:8), and were even more inspired to earnestness in the service of God and man within the Church. Thus, dear brethren and sisters, even in today’s complex era of little faith, false teachings, and moral depravity, we must not lose either hope or confidence that there are no waves of evil that are capable of drowning the divinely planted garden of the Orthodox Church. Christ, Who rose from the dead, the Founder of the Church, Who preserves us sinners, “shall not slumber nor shall He sleep” (Ps. 120:4) in His salvific providential care for the Church. His grace and truth, which lead us to eternal unity with God, will never be lacking in this spiritual treasury. For this reason, following the good example of our predecessors, we place our trust in the Savior of all men, mindful that “the truth of the Lord abideth forever” (Ps. 116:2), and that “there is no power that is able to vanquish the Lord; there is no authority that is able to prevent the Lord from carrying out His will,” as wrote the Holy Hierarch John (Maximovitch), the fiftieth anniversary of whose repose we prayerfully mark this year.

With all my heart, I greet each and every one of you at the all-radiant festival of Holy Pascha; and it is my prayerful desire that the Risen Lord will grant you strong faith, health of soul and body, all prosperity, and help from Heaven. May the Lord illumine with the light of His Resurrection the souls of the children of His Church, for the joy of the sorrowful and the oppressed, and the conversion and enlightenment of those who are “alienated from the life of God” (Eph. 4:18), among whom we live and carry out our service. May we be preserved under the protection of the Kursk Root Mother of God, who has taken the Orthodox people in the Diaspora into her keeping.

With paschal joy and love in the Risen Christ,

+HILARION
Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad

The Pascha of the Lord
2016 A.D.




Also in Articles & Sermons

Sermon for the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple 2016
Sermon for the Entry of the Theotokos into the Temple 2016

December 05, 2016

In the troparion-hymn, this Feast is called the “the heralding of the salvation of mankind.” Why? Because, the Virgin will give birth to Christ, the Great High Priest, Who was not a Levitical priest, but a priest after the order of Melchizedek; He did not enter to minister in the Jewish temple, nor did He enter physically into the Holy of Holies. But, offering Himself as the Only True Sacrifice for our sins upon the Cross, He has resurrected Himself in our very flesh which He has received from the Virgin-Mother.

Continue Reading

Sermon for the Feast of St. Gregory Palamas 2016
Sermon for the Feast of St. Gregory Palamas 2016

November 28, 2016

Fathers, brothers, sisters although our theosis is a great mystery and its magnitude towers over our understanding,  yet St. Gregory tells us simply keep the commandments and God will unite you to Himself.

Continue Reading

Sermon for the Synaxis of the Unmercenary Physicians 2016
Sermon for the Synaxis of the Unmercenary Physicians 2016

November 20, 2016

On this Sunday we celebrate the Synaxis of the Holy Unmercenary Healers, or, as they are also called, the “physicians without silver.” They are those saints who, out of pure love of God and neighbor, healed the sick and mended the souls of others while asking nothing in return. It was a pure self-sacrifice born out of love. Today we remember the great saints Cyrus and John, Tryphon, Artemius, and the others, as well as Cosmas and Damian, who lived and were martyred in Roman times. And of course, we also remember and honor our great patron, the martyr and healer Panteleimon.

Continue Reading