Beloved Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The word that dominates the “feast of feasts,” and which fully encompasses its deeper meaning is the word Resurrection! Resurrection, is, the Christian word par excellence. It is the word whose meaning, prior to Christ, was completely incomprehensible and used to provoke ironic comments, just as it did during the sermon of the Apostle Paul at the Supreme Court in Athens. Yet, after Christ, its meaning was fully understood. After the reality of Easter, every time we hear the word “Resurrection” the form of our resurrected Lord—the Eternal Victor over death—enters our minds and hearts. Because Christ Himself told us, “I am the resurrection and life” (John 11:25).
The word “Resurrection” scatters the Lord’s radiant light within us and around us, since His resurrection “has enlightened the universe” (Aposticha, Tone 2). The word “Resurrection” begets in us the sweet expectation of the eighth day, that is, of the Kingdom of God; it also reminds us of the confession we make when we recite the Creed: “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.”
Every Sunday throughout the ecclesiastical year, our Orthodox Church celebrates the eschatological dimension of the unique and unrepeatable event of Christ’s Resurrection. Every Sunday is a kind of ‘weekly Easter,’ as is every day during the forty days following the annual Paschal celebration. Christ’s resurrection is what every person longs for, whether faithful or unbelieving, because all of humanity was created for immortality and justifiably hates decay and death because it contradicts our original beauty. Since, through sin, the post-fallen human person became mortal, the Person of the God-man came to earth and, through His Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection, gave all of humanity the possibility of immortality. For this reason, the Apostle Paul boasts about the crucifixion of the Lord (Gal. 6:14). Moreover, the hymnographer of the Church places in the mouth of every believer a similar ‘boast’ for the Death and the Resurrection of the Lord, saying, “In your resurrection I glory and your death is my life. O Almighty One and Lover of Mankind, O Lord: glory to You” (Vespers Stichera, Tone 7).
The joyful message of Easter is that the sole purpose of Christ’s Death and the Resurrection is our personal resurrection. Christ was resurrected for no other reason than to resurrect us from the death of sin. Therefore, the timeless request of the faithful is, “Lord, You who rose from the dead, raise us also who have fallen through sin…” (Lauds, Tone 4). Let us also reflect on the fact that our final destination is our entry into His Kingdom, where “there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but everlasting life.”
Because of the Resurrection, no matter what evil happens to them in their earthly life, believing Christians do not grieve nor do they lose hope; instead, they are oriented towards eternity, and thus continue with courage and confidence during their struggle for the attainment of true life.
Therefore the effects of sickness, epidemics, sorrow, pain, poverty, and even death are annihilated by the expectation of our personal resurrection through our Lord Jesus Christ. For after the Resurrection of Christ “death perished; victory is complete! Death where is your sting? O Hades where is your victory? Let us thank God who has given us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15: 54-55, 57).
The great event of the Resurrection—the feast of Pascha—which we celebrate today with such splendour, is the most important feast of our Orthodox Church. Indeed, the usual greeting of the resurrection, “Christ is Risen – Truly He is Risen,” spreads this ultimate message to the ends of the universe: “Christ is Risen and the tomb is emptied of the dead: for Christ being risen from the dead, has become the Leader and Reviver of those who had fallen asleep. To Him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen.”
On behalf of His Eminence Metropolitan Soterios of Pisidia, our Clergy, and all our associates in the Lord, I wish you and your loved ones good health, rapid relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, and every blessing from the risen Lord.
My Beloved, Christ is risen!
With much love and special honor in Christ our risen Lord,
+ Ambrosios Metropolitan of Korea