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Holy Pascha, 2002


By the mercy of God Archbishop of Constantinople
New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch:
unto the entire plentitude of the Church
Grace, Mercy and Peace from the Gloriously risen Saviour Christ

Christ is Risen!

We welcome with this joyous salutation, beloved brethren and sons and daughters in the Lord, the feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We participate this year once again in the universal celebration of the Resurrection, through which and on account of, we experience in our life the transcendence of death and all sorrow.

We bow before and thank our Lord Jesus Christ, Who rose from the dead, because He renders worthy those of us who, in the orthodox way, worship and honour Him to see the wondrous deeds of God, to become recipients of the supernatural light of His resurrection, which leads us to a new life, and to feel this new life pulsating robustly in our hearts and vanquishing the many and great sorrows of the present life.

Standing without wavering upon the rock of faith in the Lord's resurrection and our own, we sing joyfully along with the hymnographer and praise the sacred and all-venerable Pascha. The outward and festal Pascha, but also the inner and mystical one, which is accomplished in the depths of our hearts, instils in our spirit the life of the Risen Christ and the unquenchable joy of the eternal life in Christ.

We rejoice in every way, enjoying in body and spirit the gifts of Jesus Christ who loves us. And we wholeheartedly wish that all our fellow human beings would become participants of this joy and blissful life, especially those who are downtrodden by various sorrows and tribulations and those who do not know the joy of the Resurrection and the love of the Risen Christ towards us all. Faith in the Resurrection of Christ and participation in it deflect every pain, offer hope, conquer the fear of death, and grant optimism and joy.

We are not ignorant of human pain, injustice, harassment, illness, poverty and deprivation. We do not live outside the present sorrowful universal condition. We are crucified with Christ and suffer with all our fellow human beings that are treated unjustly. But we know that there is a healer of all these, our Risen Lord Jesus Christ, who suffered and was crucified for us, who also granted us victory over death and, overcoming all sorrows, the expectation of ineffable joy and the indisputable promise of eternal life.

The feast of the Resurrection of Christ is for us a turning point of joy within the vast sea of the sorrows of life. It is a point of recovery through hope and of re-equipment through spiritual endurance and vigour, so that we can face the complexities of contemporary life with optimism. It is from this feast that we draw courage, according to the word of the Lord, "be of good cheer, I have overcome the world," because the Resurrection is the greatest victory over the power of evil in the world, which is very good inasmuch as it was God's goodness that created it for us human beings. The Resurrection of Christ reminds us that we have the possibility and the duty through His grace to resist every fall into sin, every disappointment and pessimism, and to look to Him and to His Church for receiving Divine Grace and help in every difficult circumstance of our life.

Be of good cheer, then, beloved sons and daughters in the Lord, and make peace with one another, rejoicing in the worldwide paschal celebration, because Christ's Resurrection is also our resurrection, and Christ's victory over evil can also be ours through His grace, and our persistence in the struggle against every evil, pain and bereavement.

This is what we wholeheartedly wish for all of you, on whom we invoke the grace, the peace and the strength of the Risen Christ. And we call all of you to repeat at this Pascha as well, the salutation of the victory of Christ over every evil.

Christ is Risen!

Holy Pascha 2002
Your fervent supplicant before God
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
Protocol No. 357

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