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Sermon on the Pascha of Christ - XPUCTOC BOCKPECE!

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    Sermon on the Pascha of Christ http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstucture/pagesru/sermons/stjohn1925pascha.html (in Russian) Bishop Jonah (Pokrovsky;
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 12, 2004
      Sermon on the Pascha of Christ

      http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstucture/pagesru/sermons/stjohn1925pascha.html
      (in Russian)
      Bishop Jonah (Pokrovsky; +1925) of Hankow, Glorified by the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside of Russia in October 1996


      Christ is Risen!


      For several years now, we greet the Pascha of Christ amidst horrors and
      rivers of blood from world conflict. The joy of the Resurrection,
      unconquered by any power, once again descends to earth, an earth shrouded
      in great sorrow, flooded by the outpouring of tears of the orphaned and
      suffering, amid the din of moaning and wailing of peoples, martyrs for the
      faith and for God?s truthЙ


      Could the unendurable sufferings of hundreds of thousands of human souls
      not be rewarded by Higher Truth?



      There is only one satisfactory answer to this eternal question?the
      resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the grave. Only the joy of the
      Resurrection more than compensates for all the sorrows of the world, and it
      will not be defeated unto the ages!


      The Resurrection of the Lord makes sense of human suffering, raising it to
      the level of a redeeming sacrifice for the oceans of human lawlessness.
      Everyone who suffers, believing in the Redeemer of the world, participates
      in the mystery of Christ?s Cross, and thereby draws closer that moment of
      inexpressible blessedness, when evil and death will be forever defeated by
      Him who rose from the dead?heaven will unite with earth, and the foundation
      will be laid for a new life, the mere glimpse of which will cast out
      memories of the oceans of human blood and cruel sufferingsЙ The martyrs of
      all ages, of all countries and peoples, filled with the glorious
      celebration, will sing to the Lord God the song of love and gratitude, for
      they will fully understand then God?s aim for the existence of the
      universe.


      Christ is Risen?and all becomes bright, like God?s heaven on a glorious May
      morning; one believes in Divine Truth reigning over the world, through all
      the horrors of human strife?the holy love of Christ shines brightly over
      the earthЙ The pains endured by the finest souls are not for naught: they
      purchase a higher good, the joy of eternity, and one instant of the great
      happiness to come immeasurably overcomes all earthly tribulationsЙ



      Blessed are those that suffer when they are filled with this unwavering
      hope, and among this myriad sufferers we, of course, are closer still?for
      our mother is suffering, our Holy RussiaЙ


      If we pose a general question?what is happening in the life of Russia
      now??the response would be brief:
      "Golgotha."


      From her first moments, Rus' has traveled the way of the cross, and now she
      enters a region of horror and suffering, where the great words are drawing
      near: "Everything is done!"


      The Golgotha of the life of Russia is not only represented by the internal
      strife of recent years?our suffering has spilled over into science,
      painting, literature, architecture, music, into art in general?everywhere
      there is suffering for the ideal, for the attainment of truth.


      To be fair, one of the finest painted characterizations of our existence is
      "Holy Russia" by Nesterov. See how it moves from the Golgotha of daily life
      towards Resurrection?it drags itself from the tortures of daily life
      towards the peaceful port?Christ and His truth!


      The historic and social sufferings of the Russian people have given our
      music a minor key; as Nekrasov says, we have "created music as though it
      were a groanЙ"


      The Russian people have lain down a great deal at the foundations of their
      culture?their unusual patience and labor?and what are these invaluable
      properties interwoven with?


      The Russian person, as Nekrasov says, "works himself to death, drinks
      himself half to deathЙ"


      If we ignore the sinful exceptions, then there is a single explanation for
      drunkenness: SorrowЙ


      Recall the alcoholic from among the intelligentsia?one of the heroes of
      Dostoevsky, MarmeladovЙ What did he seek, spending his days in pubs and
      inns?


      "Sorrows, sorrows did I seek in the bottom of this glass," he said,
      emptying his cup in Raskolnikov's presence: "Sorrows and tearsЙI sought
      them and I found themЙ"


      Then behold how the depth of our Christian hope for the resurrection of man
      and faith in the mercy of the Lord was manifested in him when, in his
      fantasy, he painted a picture of the great mercy the Creator had for the
      weakness of drunkards.


      "Come, all drunkards, come all ye weak ones," Marmeladov imagines Christ
      will say on the Day of Judgment:
      "Ye are swine..."


      What faith and immeasurable love of the Lord towards His sinning?and yet,
      crown-wearing?creatures; faith in the victory of man, in his rebirth, in
      the renewal of lifeЙ


      Faith in the future inspired Raskolnikov to boldly embark on the path of
      redeeming his guilt of causing suffering, and through it, towards his own
      rebirth, and to take along with him Sonya Marmeladova, who traveled a
      thorny path herself.


      Remember the wonderful passage in Crime and Punishment wherein Raskolnikov
      and Sonya are immersed in the Gospel reading on the resurrection of
      Lazarus!


      Here is the moment during their own Golgotha when "salvation" from their
      past occurred, when a new, bright life was ignited above the darkness of
      rejected sinЙ


      These were undoubtedly people who strove for Truth, yearned for it, but
      were trapped in the crypt of human habit, who felt so profoundly the power
      of Christ that, together with the resurrected Lazarus, they emerged from
      their tombs, sensed a new life within themselves, giving them the ability
      to act with love...


      And the entire Russian nation, believing in Christ and His truth, believes
      in its resurrection and in the renewal of life, forging its will in the
      fires of suffering.


      This faith in resurrection adds bright notes into the art of sorrow, and,
      for instance, the morose Chekhov, through the words of some of his heroes,
      says: "We will see a bright life, joyful, wonderful, we will be happy and
      we will restЙ I believe fervently, passionatelyЙ"


      The sum, one might say, of the sadness of such a wide range of types within
      Russian society lies in the unattained Divine Truth, understood by each in
      his own way, but still, TruthЙ


      But since the One perfect Truth is God, then, consequently, the striving of
      mankind to live by the truth, that is, "in a good way," can be compared to
      striving to live "by God," to be reborn for a new life.


      Man needs God and needs immortality in order to believe in the victory of
      man.


      "If there were no God," says Chekhov's protagonist in Ward No. 6, "He would
      have been invented by manЙBut I believe deeply that if there were no
      immortality, then sooner or later some great human mind would event itЙ"



      Notice the two "ifs," and with such faith in the "crown of creation," in
      its inextinguishable brightness.


      "If there were no GodЙIf there were no immortalityЙ" one sees here the
      importance of both.


      The Russian people will find their resurrection, and then their eternal
      life in the hereafter, only through suffering, for they are loyal to Him
      Who through sufferings Himself granted the possibility to attain true life
      in freedomЙ


      That is why suffering is not feared by the Russian people who understand
      the words of their Divine Teacher: "In the world ye shall have tribulation:
      but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."


      Without a doubt, this year the Pascha of Christ will fill the hearts of
      Russian people with deluges of heavenly light and angelic rejoicing.


      Everything is as it was before, the all-powerful, eternally triumphant holy
      words of the great greeting will resound the world over?Christ is Risen!
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