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Paschal message of Pat. Irinej

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  • R. Merick
    The Paschal Message of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej http://www.spc.rs/sr/patriarchal_paschal_encyclical_2010 The Serbian Orthodox Church to her
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2010
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      The Paschal Message of His Holiness Serbian Patriarch Irinej


      The Serbian Orthodox Church to her spiritual children at Pascha, 2010

      By the grace of God
      Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
      Patriarch, with the all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church �
      to all the
      clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church:
      grace, mercy
      and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy
      with the joyous Paschal greeting:


      �Christ is risen from dead,
      trampling down death by death and
      upon those in the tombs bestowing life.�
      (Paschal troparion)

      In greeting you, dear brothers and sisters, with the words of this all-
      joyous and victorious hymn of Christ�s Resurrection, we would remind
      you that the Resurrection is the foundation of the Church and the
      source of faith and hope in our life on earth. Christ�s Resurrection
      is the seal and crown of God�s love toward this world and man: ��For
      God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
      whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting
      life.� (John 3:16)

      The Resurrection is a Biblical mystery, for centuries hidden in the
      bosom of the Old Testament only to finally be proclaimed to the world
      in the New Testament � with the Resurrection from the dead of the God-
      Man Jesus Christ. (cf. Matthew 28:6)

      The mystery of the Resurrection connected with the arrival of the
      Messiah is foreshadowed in the books of many prophets of the Old
      Testament. The great Prophet Isaiah confesses belief in the personal
      and general Resurrection with words: �The dead shall rise up, and
      those in the tombs shall arise,� (Isaiah 26:19) and calls all Israel
      to participate in that joy of the promised Resurrection: �Rise and
      sing all ye in the earth, for your dew is a healing for them, but the
      land of the ungodly shall come to an end.� (Isaiah 26:19) The Prophet
      David witnesses to the same in his psalms by connecting the mystery of
      the Resurrection with the arrival of the Messiah. With his psalms he
      affirms that faith in the Resurrection is the faith of all the
      righteous ones from the Old Testament, whose souls God would not leave
      in Hades, �For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Your
      Holy One to see corruption,� (Psalm 15:10) directing us with this
      verse toward the First Resurrected One, the Messiah � Christ. And
      other prophets from the Old Testament affirm the mystery of the
      Resurrection. The Prophet Elijah resurrects the son of a widow in
      Zarephath of Sidon (3 Kings 17), foreshadowing with that miracle that
      the reality of the Resurrection will spread to all nations on earth
      (cf. Luke 4:26). The book of Ezekiel gives us a moving prefiguration
      of the general resurrection. The holy Prophet Ezekiel, inspired by the
      Holy Spirit of God, sees the bringing back to life of human bones from
      the dust of the earth, bones which will be gathered at the end of
      history and right before the General Judgment of God: �Then He said to
      me, �Prophesy to these bones and say to them, O dry bones, hear the
      word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord to these bones: Behold, I will
      bring the Spirit of life upon you.�� (Ezekiel 37:4-5)

      In the New Testament we can truly say that the Resurrection is the
      beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega (cf. Revelation 1:8),
      for it is identified with faith in Christ: �I am the resurrection and
      the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet he shall
      live� (John 11:25). To believe in Christ means to believe in the

      All the miracles and signs described in the books of the New Testament
      happen on Christ�s way to Golgotha and the Resurrection. The Gospel
      description of Jairus� daughter�s resurrection (cf. Matthew 9:18-26)
      and that of the widow�s son (cf. Luke 7:12-15), and especially of the
      resurrection of the four-day-dead Lazarus in Bethany (cf. John
      11:5-46), affirm the truth that Christ is the Resurrection and the
      Life. He came into this world to give us Resurrection, as we sing
      during these holy days in the resurrection services. Neither something
      else � nor anything less! Our Lord did not bring a new philosophy, nor
      new ethics; rather He brought us new life, which He granted to us as a
      pledge of the future Resurrection in the holy mystery of Baptism. (cf.
      Galatians 3:27) The Lord Jesus Christ offered Himself on Golgotha as
      an unblemished Sacrifice on behalf of all and for all, as we confess
      and experience in the central part of Liturgy of the Church, as we
      commune of the Body and Blood of �Christ Crucified and Resurrected for
      us.� Christ is the paschal Lamb of the New Testament. By His Cross and
      His Resurrection on the third day He finally and perfectly showed that
      He is the Messiah and Savior of the world and �that there is no other
      name on earth by which we could be saved.� (cf. Acts 4:12)

      The Holy Apostle Paul when speaking of Christ�s Resurrection said: �If
      Christ is not risen our faith is in vain�, but Christ is risen and has
      become the First-born of the dead.� (I Corinthians 15:17-20) The Holy
      Apostle Paul preached to Greek philosophers and wise men about �the
      unknown God� (cf. Acts 17:23), telling them particularly about
      Christ�s Resurrection from the dead. Christ�s victory over death is
      the affirmation of the truthfulness of Christ�s Divinity. That is why
      in the Gospel the holy apostles are called �witnesses of Christ�s
      Resurrection.� (cf. Acts 1:22) By the truth about Christ and His
      Resurrection, the apostles conquered �ancient arrogant Rome� and �as
      Galileans rather then Aristotelians� they proclaimed the news about
      Christ the Savior from end to end of the universe. (Romans 10:18) The
      two thousand years of the Church�s history, born on the day of
      Pentecost by the Holy Spirit, and affirmed by the preaching of the
      Apostles and Holy Fathers, is the greatest and the best proof that the
      Resurrected Lord is with us and that He will be with us �always, to
      the end of the age.� (Matthew 28:20)

      Remembering these Gospel testimonies and the truth about our
      Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, �in whom we live, move and exist� (Acts
      17:28), guided by pastoral concern, we call upon you, our dear
      spiritual children, to confess and safeguard your faith in the
      Resurrection, not only with words, but with your life and works. In
      this regard, the Holy Gospel admonishes us to avoid �parasynagogues�,
      that is to avoid sectarian-type separatism and gatherings as well as
      false prophets and teachers, for they �come to you in sheep�s
      clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves� (Matthew 7:15). Let
      us safeguard our Orthodox Tradition inherited from the Apostles and
      the Holy Fathers, from Saint Sava and Saint Simeon the Myrrhflowing.
      St. Sava, before the myrrhflowing relics of his father, brought peace
      between his two feuding brothers, and with that he called us to always
      and everywhere live in brotherly love and unity. We greet our brothers
      and sisters, our spiritual children, in Kosovo and Metohija.

      We greet them with a greeting of the Cross and Resurrection, seeing
      how the clergy and faithful people of God attend their church and holy
      shrines in peace and love, tranquility and obedience, participate in
      the services and partake of the Divine Mysteries of Christ in these
      holy and saving days of Christ�s ascent to Jerusalem to conquer death
      and open the door of Resurrection and life eternal to all of us.
      Bishop Atanasije, who per the decision of our Patriarch and the Holy
      Synod is temporarily substituting for Bishop Artemije, is visiting our
      faithful and the holy shrines throughout Kosovo and Metohija, and in
      unity and oneness of mind with the clergy and faithful serves from
      royal Prizren in the south, throughout Metohija to Velika Hoca and
      Pech, and from the foothills of Shara through Kosovo Pomoravlje to
      Novo Brdo and Mitrovica, to the foothills of Kopaonik in the north.
      Thank God, our people are resolved to stay and exist on this holy
      altar, believing in the Cross and Resurrection of Christ and our own
      resurrection, always safeguarding themselves from disunity and ill-
      conceived confusing stories that do not lead to the safeguarding of
      the faith and of the spiritual and national identity.

      Our faithful know what it means to hold fast to the healthy words of
      our Lord and to sound pious teachings, and, on the other hand, they
      also know what futile arguing means, �from which comes envy, strife,
      reviling, evil suspicions, useless wrangling of men of corrupt minds
      and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of
      gain.� (I Timothy 6:3-5) In rebuilt holy shrines prayers are offered
      in one mind and heart by our clergy and people: �Commending ourselves
      and each another and our whole life to Christ our God!� With one mouth
      and one heart a prayer of unity in the Faith and in the communion of
      the Holy Spirit is being sung to the glory of the Union of the Holy
      Trinity and to the safeguarding of the Orthodox conciliarity of church
      and people.

      We pray to God that, through the prayers of Saint Sava and Saint Tsar
      Lazar, peace and freedom are returned to our suffering Kosovo, our
      spiritual cradle and our Jerusalem, the place of our greatest holy
      shrines, which are pearls of Orthodox culture and the common treasure
      of all Christendom.

      We also exhort all our pious people living in our homeland and
      elsewhere to live and rejoice in Christ�s Resurrection. The
      Resurrection calls us to safeguard the unity of our Holy Church and
      that we never subjugate our Community and our common interests to
      earthly interests. The Holy Apostle Paul calls and admonishes us not
      to be �lawless and insubordinate� (cf. I Timothy 1:9), bringing to
      life �old wounds� of already healed divisions of the body of St.
      Sava�s Church. Let us then live in the unity of our Mother Church and
      in love and unity with one another, preserving according to the words
      of the already-mentioned apostle to many nations, �the unity of the
      Spirit in the bond of peace.� (Ephesians 4:3)

      At this time of the Resurrection, the Church always stresses the value
      and holiness of human life, from the beginning of conception to the
      full maturity of every unique and God-like human person, objecting to
      every form of violence against them. To this end, we are not only
      reminded by God�s command: Do not kill! (Exodus 20:13), but even more
      so by the Resurrection of Christ, because it reveals to us the deepest
      meaning of creation and of the existence of the world and man, which
      is the salvation �of all and everything� in the Crucified and
      Resurrected Christ. (cf. I Corinthians 1:23)

      Today�s man, plagued with worries of this world and blinded by a
      selfish consumer mentality, avoids the encounter with the mystery of
      life and death. �Cursed questions� which great human minds like
      Dostoyevsky and many others have dealt with in our time, do not have
      many inquirers. We are witnesses, unfortunately, that the
      �civilization of death� is becoming more and more apparent. Many
      worldly religions and even the philosophy and art of our time are
      embracing, according to the words of Father Alexander Schmemann,
      �peacemaking with death�. Death is, according to them, the one
      reality, the beginning and end of the world. The Church of Christ
      affirms and witnesses exactly the opposite. The Church confesses and
      preaches the deepest dignity and sanctity of human life, believing in
      Christ�s Resurrection which triumphs over our greatest and last enemy,
      which is death. (cf. Corinthians 15:26)

      A great Russian elder Saint Seraphim of Sarov would greet all his
      visitors with these words: �My joy, Christ is Risen!�, with this
      greeting showing that the Church of Christ and her saints live in the
      present reality of the Resurrection. May God grant that we too may
      become witnesses of that truth and that the joy of the Resurrection
      may shine forth in our souls and our faces � that joy which was seen
      on the face of the recently departed Athonite elder Joseph of
      Vatopedi, who contrary to the laws of biology, departed with a smile
      on his face.

      Greeting you all, our brothers and sisters, we call you to live in
      love toward God and your neighbors, walking the path that leads to
      life eternal. Living in such a way, we will become and we will be sons
      and daughters of the Resurrection.

      Christ Is Risen!
      Indeed He Is Risen!

      Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Pascha 2010.
      Your prayerful intercessors before the Risen Lord:

      Archbishop of Pec,
      Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
      Serbian Patriarch IRINEJ

      Metropolitan of Zagreb and Ljubljana JOVAN
      Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands AMPHILOHIJE
      Metropolitan of Libertyville-Chicago CHRISTOPHER
      Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosna NIKOLAJ

      Bishop of Sabac LAVRENTIJE
      Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla VASILIJE
      Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
      Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
      Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
      Bishop of Canada GEORGIJE
      Bishop of Banat NIKANOR
      Bishop of New Gracanica � Midwestern America LONGIN
      Bishop of Eastern America MITROPHAN
      Bishop of Zica CHRYSOSTOM
      Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
      Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
      Bishop of Ras and Prizren ARTEMIJE
      Bishop of Bihac and Petrovac CHRYSOSTOM
      Bishop of Osijek and Baranja LUKIJAN
      Bishop of Central Europe CONSTANTINE
      Bishop of Western Europe LUKA
      Bishop of Timok JUSTIN
      Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
      Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
      Bishop of Slavonia SAVA
      Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
      Bishop of Milesevo FILARET
      Bishop of Dalmatia FOTIJE
      Bishop of Budimlje and Niksic JOANIKIJE
      Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina GRIGORIJE
      Bishop of Valjevo MILUTIN
      Bishop of Western America MAXIM
      Bishop of Gornji Karlovac GERASIM
      Bishop of Australia and New Zealand IRINEJ
      Retired Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina ATANASIJE,
      Administrator of Raska and Prizren Diocese
      Vicar Bishop of Hvostno ATANASIJE
      Vicar Bishop of Jegar PORFIRIJE
      Vicar Bishop of Lipljan TEODOSIJE
      Vicar Bishop of Dioclea JOVAN
      Vicar Bishop of Moravica ANTONIJE

      Archbishop of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje JOVAN
      Bishop of Polos and Kumanovo JOAKIM
      Bishop of Bregal and locum tenens of the Diocese of Bitolj MARKO
      Vicar Bishop of Stobija DAVID

      [Path of Orthodoxy translation]

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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