CHRIST IS RISEN!
Beloved in the Lord children of our Holy Church,
Christ is Risen!
With light in our souls and in our hearts, with genuine Paschal joy and gratitude to the Heaven because of the Light of life rising from the tomb, this year again we reverently meet the Resurrection of Christ. We are bowing down before the wondrous Providence of God and we are singing the triumphant hymn: Christ is risen from the dead! And our joy is complete beacuse it springs from our blameless faith in our Lord Who defended death and Who „…is risen, just as He said” (Matt. 28:6). And Who went through humiliation and suffering for our sake as He underwent death – „even death on the cross” (Phil. 2:8) to cover the crime committed in the past, to liberate us from the slavery of the sin and death and to bestow us with His salvation.
The Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ Who destroyed death in its very dominion, as He made the very Hades tremble and annihilated corruption (cf. Morning Service on the Holy Saturday), Who ever-victoriously resurrected on the third day and raised the fallen in the past human nature „at the right hand of the Father” (The Symbol of Faith, 6), and Whom today we festively glorify as our Lord and our God (John 20:28-29). It is Him Whom we glorify, Him Whom we praise, together with the heavenly host and the whole creation, Him Whom we confess of the same mind in the hymns and chants of the Paschal divine service and in the innermost prayers and thanksgiving springing from our hearts. It is Him, the Victor over darkness and the Source of „the unfailing light”, and it is Him Whom today we continue to follow and in His Name to be saved, because we do not know on this world „other Name under heaven that is given among mortals by which we should be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Through Christ’s glorious Resurrection – as the Divine Liturgist testifies – „the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, to those who sat in the region and shadow of death, to them light has dawned” (Matt. 4:16). Light, peace and salvation for every person and for all the peoples, in all times, that have accepted with faith and continue accepting Him – „the true light” (John 1:9). Those who have recognised in Him their only true God and Saviour, and to Whom He has given the chance from children of sin and death „to become God’s children” (John 1:12).
That is why in the most bright dawn of Pascha our holy father John Chrysostom is triumphant, and, being triumphant, he requires: „Let none lament his poverty; for the universal Kingdom is revealed. Let none bewail his transgressions; for the light of forgiveness has risen from the tomb. Let none fear death; for death of the Saviour has set us free.” (The Paschal homily). And together with the apostle he asks: „Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55). Because what else is death but breaking away from the Source of life? However, now, after the Incarnation of God’s Son and His glorious Resurrection – now, when „God is with us” (Is. 8:10), also the Very Life is already with us, and death has already been enervated.
Brothers and sisters,
Life and faith, which our holy Church confesses and preaches and with which all its faithful live and are saved, are a divine gift for all of us and for every person; life that is „in abundance” (John 10:10), and faith – that defeats „the world” (1 John 5:4) and all that that is „of the world” (John 15:19) and is not pleasing to God. Faith, through which we truly find Lord’s way – the way to Heaven and to the eternal life in the bosom of the Father. Because, as the apostle also testifies, it is by this faith that we walk, „not by sight…” (2 Cor. 5:7), and through it we become by blessing „God’s children… in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26). Faith, which in the past, in the long centuries of the Old Testament was just an anticipation, but which now, after the Incarnation, the suffering and the death on the cross, and especially after the Resurrection and the Ascension of God’s Son, is already a reality, in which and with which the Church has been living throughout the centuries – like a ship in the rough sea.
It rests with us to keep and follow this faith, so that by this we would be saved by it. In our midst is „the Kingdom of God” (Luke 17:21), according to the words of our Lord and Saviour, and it is in our power to live and to turn into deeds this salvific Orthodox faith of ours and to worthily benefit from the opportunity to be real „fellow-citizens with the saints, and members of God’s households” (Eph. 2:19), generously offered to us by Christ, through His most glorious victory. In it – in this faith gifted by God we are again strengthened by the dawn at the empty tomb, the day of the holy Pascha, the Holiday of all holidays and the Triumph of all triumphs, as the Church has always called the day of the most holy Resurrection of Christ.
May the Light rising on this day from the empty tomb always shine upon all of us. May it always warm our hearts and enlightens our minds, so that guided by it to walk constantly after Christ’s steps, following the example beqeathed by Him, and by this to be also vouchsafed with the eternal life with Him – in the Kingdom prepared for us „since the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34) – Kingdom of light, of divine love and every justice – Kingdom that is „righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
On the occasion of the Resurrection of Christ, we are greeting all faithful children of our Orthodox Church: those who are living within our Motherland as well as all those who are living abroad; and we are extending our most cordial wishes to all of you for enjoying the light of the Resurrection and the joy from God’s triumph always luminous in our hearts!
May to all of us be the Grace and Peace from our Lord Jesus Christ Who has risen from the dead!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
HEAD OF THE HOLY SYNOD
PATRIARCH OF BULGARIA
METROPOLITAN OF SOFIA
MEMBERS OF THE HOLY SYNOD:
† METROPOLITAN IOANIKIY OF SLIVEN
† METROPOLITAN JOSEPH OF USA, CANADA AND AUSTRALIA
† METROPOLITAN GRIGORIY OF VELIKO TARNOVO
† METROPOLITAN IGNATIY OF PLEVEN
† METROPOLITAN GAVRIIL OF LOVECH
† METROPOLITAN NIKOLAY OF PLOVDIV
† METROPOLITAN AMVROSIY OF DOROSTOL
† METROPOLITAN ANTONIY OF WESTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE
† METROPOLITAN JOHN OF VARNA AND VELICKY PRESLAV
† METROPOLITAN SERAPHIM OF NEVROKOP
† METROPOLITAN NAUM OF ROUSSE
† METROPOLITAN CYPRIAN OF STARA ZAGORA
† METROPOLITAN GRIGORIY OF VRATSA
† METROPOLITAN DANIIL OF VIDIN