Grace and Peace from the Resurrected Christ!

“When the Sabbath was past…Very early in the morning…” — Mark 16:1,2

My Beloved,

Truly, my beloved in the faith, the Sabbath has passed with the setting of the sun. It is very early in the darkness of the morning. But in that moment of darkness your candles give light. Night thus passes and in a little while comes the dawn of the New Day. It is a day that is like no other. It is a day which finds us not only a candle bearers, but as light givers.

As the angel who rolled back the stone from the tomb was seen in the brightness of his garment, so are you giving forth this light. The New Day expects us to have a radiant countenance, eyes filled with light, lips emitting light, hands which spread light, feet that open up a lighted way so that people may not deviate from the true path and thereby become lost. Those persons do not know how to walk in darkness for “he who walks in darkness knows not where he goes.” What about us? Do we truly desire for all people to walk in the light and to have the light shining on them? This is the light of truth that dissolves error. This is the light of goodness which drives away the darkness of evil. This is the light of optimism which dispels from peoples’ hearts all uncertainty. This is the light of prayer and faith which drowns out the darkness of egocentricity and unbelief which make the human inhuman.

At this moment it is very early in the morning. It is deep darkness. Yet it is morning. Let our souls then awaken with the coming light and let them rise up as He rose to give us the dawn of the New Day. Let the appropriate hymn rise up out of our hearts to our lips. Let the hymn which best expresses our faith and our joy that the New Day belongs to Christ and to us, be joyfully sung. He descended into Hell and shattered its chains releasing those who were confined there from the beginning of time.

Let us go to the other direction and climb the road as high as we can go and let our voices ring out so that they will be heard by the homeless and persecuted of the world, telling them that they have a home and solidarity with us. Let us sing out so as to be heard by those who are captives of their passions, awaiting their own redemption because the Redeemer lives. Let our chanting be heard by the few Orthodox Christians of our Mother Church because a new life presides. Let us shout it out so that we may be heard by those who have been abandoned by our society and who still await their Apostle Paul to tell them that the demons have fallen.

With them in our thoughts, with their pain, and with our love for them, let us all together chant with one voice so that all our brothers and sisters who are downtrodden may join with us that “Hades is annihilated, for there is no one dead in the tombs. Let us sing out that everyone is invited to the banquet of faith. Knowing that the death of our Savior has freed us, let us chant the victorious ode, the supreme hymn, Christ’s triumphant hymn “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs granting life.”

To Him be glory and power and worship forever.

With Paternal Love in the Risen Lord,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco