“Let us cleanse our senses and behold Christ resplendent with the unapproachable light of the Resurrection, saying: Rejoice” — From the 1st Ode of the Resurrection Matins

Dearly Beloved,

It is a day of Resurrection! Believe it, my dear brothers and sisters and beloved children in the Lord. You are all here with lit candles in hand, their radiant glow reflecting on your faces, and with your hearts filled with joyful expectation. Believe it! It is a day of Resurrection for all Orthodox Christians no matter where they live. Everything is filled with light, even the hollow and expressionless eyes of those disheartened people who have waited for years for a sign of hope. Darkness and gloom have been chased away by the radiance of the unwaning light.

Allow this joyful light to penetrate into the depths of your soul so that you can truly respond to our Lord’s greeting “Rejoice”. Allow it to enlighten the darkest corners of your heart so that you can respond to our Church’s exhortation “let us cleanse our senses”. Chase away from yourselves every part of your senses which is unclean and which makes you feel ashamed.

All things are filled with light and it is important that this light penetrate deeply into our hearts and into our senses. Only then will our vision be clear and the eyes of our soul wide open…so that we can behold on our horizons which have been darkened by our distorted perception a brilliant lightning bolt, Christ Himself “resplendent” and saying “rejoice”. Truly, how much we need this new light which emanates from within us; how much we need this new life which will forever overcome fear, delusion sorrow and death.

The Risen Christ is that light and that life and His Resurrection is offered to all those who have purified themselves…to all those who have distanced themselves from their transgressions and seek their true God-created selves. It is up to us to partake in these blessings of the rebirth, of the renewal of ourselves. We can do this by making Him our priority and begin a new heaven-bound journey which will lead us to the truth. This is the moment for initiating such a new life style which reflects the Resurrection and our acceptance of its message. Let us accept the challenge to truly experience it and distance ourselves from every false sense.

It is a day of Resurrection! A time of catharsis. A time to reorient ourselves away from our senseless ambitions. Let us rejoice and be radiant. Darkness and gloom are cast away and we are made beautiful by the pure light which adorns us when we put on the spiritual armor of our Christian identity. Let us garb ourselves with this attire. Let us witness the death of our old self and experience the joyful beat of a new life-style within us, far from all the tombs of death. Let us lift up our voices in hymns of prayer and with great joy proclaim to ourselves and to all the world the one truth that “Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling down death and to those in the tombs granting life.”

With paternal love in our Risen Lord,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco