Christ is Risen!
Just yesterday it would seem that the last hope for salvation had been lost, while today we have acquired firm expectation of eternal life ‘in the never-fading Kingdom of God.’ Just yesterday the ghost of corruption prevailed over creation, casting doubt over the meaning of our earthly life, while today we proclaim to each and all the great victory of Life over death.
Belief in Christ’s Resurrection is inextricably harnessed to the Church’s belief that the incarnate Son of God, in redeeming the human race and tearing asunder the fetters of sin and death, has granted to us genuine spiritual freedom and the joy of being united with our Maker. We are all in full measure communicants of this precious gift of the Saviour, we who have gathered on this radiant night in Orthodox churches to ‘enjoy the banquet of faith,’ as St. John Chrysostom puts it.
When spiritual heroism becomes the substance not only of the individual but of an entire people, when in striving for the celestial world the hearts of millions of people are united, ready to defend their homeland and vindicate lofty ideals and values, then truly amazing, wondrous things happen that at times cannot be explained from the perspective of formal logic. The nation acquires enormous spiritual strength which no disasters or enemies are capable of overcoming. The truth of these words is evidently attested by the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, achieved by the self-sacrificing heroism of our people. We shall mark the seventieth anniversary of this glorious date in the current year.
In afflictions and temptations we are called upon to preserve peace and courage, for we have been given the great and glorious promise of victory over evil. Can we be discouraged and despair? No! For we comprise the Church of Christ which, according to the Lord’s true word, cannot be overcome by the ‘gates of hell’ (Mt 16:18)...
(from the Paschal Message of Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia, 2015)