Paschal Message of His Eminence, Metropolitan John of Dubna, 2022
To their Excellencies, clergy, monks and nuns, and to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Orthodox Churches of Russian Tradition in Western Europe.
Dear beloved-in-Christ Fathers, Brothers and Sisters,
The Resurrection of Christ, the victory of life over death, is the heart of our faith, the essence of our divine worship, of our way of life, and of the culture of the Orthodox people who bear the name of Christ. The life of the Orthodox faithful is impregnated and nourished by faith in the Resurrection. This Paschal experience is the remembrance of the Resurrection of the Lord, but it is also the experience of our own renewal and the unwavering certainty of the eschatological completion of our profession of faith.
Each eucharistic Liturgy is intimitely linked to the ultimate holy day of Sunday, the Day of Resurrection. The joyful, paschal character of the Divine Eucharist is striking, as it is always celebrated in an atmosphere of joy and gladness, so prefiguring the renewal of all creation.
The Orthodox believer has a particular reason and powerful motivation for struggling against all sorts of evil, as he knows intensely the contrast between the expectation of the last days and the real history he inhabits in conformity to the teaching of the Lord: “each time you did it to one of these, the least of my brothers, you did it to me” , (Matthew 25:40). According to the demonstration of charity by the good Samaritan (cf. Luke 10 :30-27), he considers the wounded, the refugee, and the poor to be neighbours, and he unhesitatingly gives him help. This loving service – the help of a brother in difficulty – extends and expresses the sense of eucharistic sharing of the Church, and reveals to us that love is the profound experience of life in Christ, both now and in the Kingdom to come.
The news of the Resurrection, the Feast of Feasts, the absolute Love that abolished the power of death, resounds today in a wounded world, where fratricidal war and other, forgotten, wars are raging, and where social injustice and the undermining of the dignity of the human person abides. In our contemporary world, this equates to a Golgotha for the thousands of refugees, of men, women, and children coldly massacred for a supposed reason of state, yet where the Resurrection declares that, before God, human life is of absolute value. It declares that, in the face of trials and suffering, the cross and Golgotha do not have the last word. Those who do the crucifying cannot triumph over their tragic victories. For the Orthodox Church, the Cross is at the centre of piety, but it is not the ultimate end defining the final orientation of ecclesial life. The true nature of the Cross is that it is the road to the Resurrection. On this basis, we proclaim, ‘by the Cross, joy has come to the entire world’. The office of the Passion of the Lord is not sad, but a mix of cross and resurrection, since the Passion is lived and experienced through the Resurrection, which is the ‘redemption of our sorrows’.
Beloved brothers and sisters, we the Orthodox faithful, filled with the experience of the Resurrection, enlightened by liveliness, light without end, giving thanks for everything, seeking the will of the Lord, sing with the whole Church, ‘Christ is Risen !’. Let us pray to the Lord, suffered, buried, and resurrected, to enlighten the mind and heart of every person of good will, to guide our actions toward every good work, and to strengthen His Church so that it can bear witness to the Gospel of Love, “even until the end of the world” (Acts 1 :8), and proclaim the glory of His name ‘above all names’.
A holy Feast of Pascha, 2022, to all of you.