Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe

Moscow Patriarchate

Easter Message 2024 of His Eminence Metropolitan John, Archbishop of the Orthodox Churches of the Russian Tradition in Western Europe


To their Excellencies, the clergy, the monks, the nuns and the faithful of the Archdiocese of the Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe.

With the feast of Christ’s Resurrection and the Easter season, the Church inaugurates the perspective of eternity and within time, the salvation of each and every one of us.

The Promise is finally fulfilled. The Son has done the Father’s will, and the Father’s Name is sanctified and glorified. The mystery of the Revelation of the Triune God is completed by opening to those who desire it access to the Kingdom of God. And now the Church is proclaiming this Good News throughout the world: “Christ rose from the dead, through death he conquered death, to those who are in the tombs he gave life! (Matthew 28:6)

The new phase of the Resurrection consists in discovering the teaching of Christ through initiation, an awakening to the mystery of salvation which renews man and creation as God would wish. Through his Resurrection, the Word of God recreated man for new life, human beings who have been wounded by sin and contaminated by death are recreated for eternity (1 Cor 15:53-55). Christians believe and confess, the teaching of the Apostle Paul ‘if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamtion has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testifed of God that he raised Christ – whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised’ (1 Cor 15:13-15). The Resurrection of Christ is a historical fact, part of the history of humanity. As a result of this work of salvation, God dwells within human beings, making us “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) to the extent that we adhere to the lived experience, spiritual and Eucharistic,  offered to us by Christ the Saviour.

Through the Resurrection, the whole creation has been given absolute freedom. However, this absolute freedom cannot be experienced privately and alone but only through a living connection with the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12-27). The Church always proclaims that salvation is possible only in the Risen Christ. She invokes the peace of Christ for each of its members and for the whole world. God as revealed in Christ’s resurrection, is is not known by retreating into the private sphere but emerges in our shared work for creation where the light of the Resurrection is seen to shines over all.

This light illuminates our contemporary de-Christianised world which cultivates its own immanence, wants to be autonomous from God and declares itself to be so, promoting a secularisation in which both God and man are privatised. When God is relegated to the private sphere, what is there to connect us one to the other? The world is experienced as purely mechanical, cut off from the Divine Energies, so that constituent parts of matter are experienced as existing in isolation. Science itself struggles to understand the world through the relationship of its different parts, as an integated reality, as a totality. Contemporary man in severing the link with his Creator, loses sight of the image in which he was created and risks repeating the path that Adam took which led to death. The difference between Christian culture and contemporary culture is that Christian culture always takes God as its starting point while contemporary culture begins with man.

Christian culture introduces a new vision of the comsos, showing the world to be based on a logical order, that of the Logos (John 1:1); when understood as linked to the Divine Energies the artificial separation between spirit and matter is overcome. Through Christ’s resurrection, God has definitively and completely renewed creation and with it every human being. The Resurrection of Christ as giving life, manifests itself in the concord of all of creation, defined by our Holy Fathers as harmony.

Only true faith can lead man to such a vision; this in no way denies the quest for the meaning or the importance of seeking an understanding of creation. Infact Easter not only invites us to this endeavour but provides us with the keys to understanding, as we contemplate in the resurrection itself, the work of God as bringing salvaltion. Engaging with creation, we contemplate the Creator, and by so doing we can ensure that we make use of the creation only as He intended and not in a destructively self way.

All this confirms the need for believers to live more and more within the perpsective of eternity and to await the coming of Christ as ‘our citizenship is in heaven, amd it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ’ (Phil 3:20-21). To live Easter is a true joy and a true hope because Christ is with us “always, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20). Life reigns embracing all. To live Easter is to understand that Jesus Christ is the True Light and that ‘in Him was life, and the life was the light of men’ (John 1:3-4)

May the light, peace and joy of the Risen Christ be with you all.

Christ is risen!

Paris, Easter 2024

† Metropolitan John of Dubna,

Archbishop of the Orthodox Churches of the Russian Tradition

 in Western Europe