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Holy Pascha, 2003


By the Mercy of God, Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the Entire Body of the Church
Grace, Peace, and Mercy
From Christ the Saviour Who Rose in Glory

Brethren and concelebrants, faithful and God-loving sons and daughters of the Church,

Christ is Risen!

"You healed the brokenness of humanity, O Lord, having restored it by Your divine blood", sings St. John Damascene, addressing our Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified, suffered, and rose from the dead. And another hymnographer exclaims, "You were captured, I am not ashamed of it; You were lashed, I do not deny it; You were nailed to the Cross, I do not hide it; I boast of Your resurrection; for Your death is life to me, O Almighty and philanthropic God; Glory to You" (Sticheron of the Sabbath, Grave Tone).

In the passage of time humanity has repeatedly prepared its own brokenness. Indeed, every time it adopts pride and the mindset of Babel, i.e., the usurpation of divine might and substitution of the law of God by human desires and ambitions, it returns to the confusion of Babel, to discords, disagreements, conflicts, and ruins. There have been many who destroyed prosperous empires in their desire to make them greater; many who became self-destructive in setting before them aims of conceited pride; many who were humiliated in raising their own stature against God's moral law; many who destroyed others in their desire to lord and dominate over them; who realized in the end that the damage that they incurred on themselves was far greater than that which they caused.

In contrast to those who through haughtiness, or pride, or ambition, or any such egocentric impulse caused the brokenness of the world, our Lord Jesus Christ accepted with an excess of humility to undergo all those things that the leader of this world and his emissaries wished to impose on him in order to turn him into naught and to secure for themselves the domination of the world. He was captured as a conspirator, He who was the peacemaker; He was flogged as an evildoer, He who was a benefactor and healer; and, ultimately, He was crucified as a criminal, He who was innocent and the model of all goodness.

And what was the result?

When all the opponents of humility and peace thought that the gravestone covered forever Him who preached sermons that overturned their convictions as to what was right and expedient, He rose again, incorruptible out of the tomb, the healer of the brokenness of the world. Since then He continues to heal any brokenness of humanity, because He has the power to reconstruct it, to renew it, to offer it regeneration.

There are many ruins of humanity that we encounter in our time; ruins of buildings and other such works, ruins of human bodies and parts, ruins of the natural environment, and above all, ruins of moral values that pertain to civilization. All these are destroyed by haughtiness, which is accompanied by acquisition of power. The only way for the healing and for the therapy of these ruins is He who humbly received upon Himself human brokenness and was made worthy of the resurrection in His humanity.

In the midst of so many deaths and the hearing of new violent deaths, the message of the resurrection sounds as the greatest paradox! And yet, it is the only message that brings hope and the truth. It is the greatest message, beyond any other, since life is a far greater reality than any attempt made to extinguish it. This is because life is the effluence and manifestation of the creative activity of God that love undertakes, and no deadly power that militates against life can successfully prevail over this divine activity.

Foretelling his death to his disciples, the Lord offered them this admonition, "Have courage; I have overcome the world!" He won by reversing human values, by accepting humility that was hateful to many as being of superior value, at a time when everybody sought after glory and honour, as many continue to do today. It is this same admonition that we too offer to you today as a father to his beloved children in the Lord. Take courage and rejoice because Christ's victory over the world, a victory that is spiritual and unrelated to worldly domination, is offered to all who desire and accept the value of humility through which this victory is acquired.

Let all flesh that speaks contrary to this be silent. Behold the King of Glory comes out of the grave! Christ is Risen, demonstrating the infinite might of humility and peace. Nothing else can conquer death.

May the Risen Lord heal all brokenness of contemporary humanity and grant peace and life to all human beings, removing all hatred and bloodshed, and exchanging them with peaceful cooperation for the good of all. Amen.

Holy Pascha 2003
Your fervent supplicant before the Risen Christ
+Bartholomew of Constantinople
Protocol 368

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