"Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem! For the glory of the Lord is risen upon Thee"

Dearly Beloved,

Lift your glowing Paschal candle and draw it closer to your countenance. Listen to its resplendent voice proclaiming: “Shine, shine, O new Jerusalem.” It is addressing each and every one of you, for you are the new Jerusalem. Fill your entire being with its glimmering light; be radiant with joy, you who are the new creation, the faithful believer saved by the Risen Christ. In the countenance of all of you here and throughout the world who are celebrating this day, the Great Feast of Pascha, the glory that has shown forth from the life-giving tomb casts its brilliant rays upon believers everywhere. It is the glory of the Lord, and it has come to penetrate and implant in the hearts of all people the new creation, which the Church understands as the new man whose life is in Christ.

With outstretched arms grasp the hand of God and accept what He offers with so great a love – your own personal resurrection. Everything we have comes from His Holy Hand. As Saint Paul tells us, “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…” (II Corinthians 5:18). The incredible, yet saving, mystery of our whole life finds fulfillment in His resurrection: it is attained through our reconciliation with God and forgiveness of our sinful deeds. Saint Paul assures us that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them…” (II Corinthians 5:19).

And so, on this radiant dawn, a new day resplendent with the glory of the Risen Christ, may our spirit also rise up with joy and rapture to celebrate our salvation in Christ. Let us also share this glory with the millions of people everywhere who are stretching forth their hands seeking purification, redemption and joy. They are the hands of unfortunate souls that were always empty, starting right from their childhood – people who never had a chance to enjoy the most basic God-given right for all mankind: protection of their very life under the law of the land. They are the hands of the poor, the weak and the oppressed in all parts of the world who are in near despair and are stretching forth their hands, hoping and praying for a better tomorrow. They are the hands of little children and adolescents seeking the hand of God to be rescued from the abuse inflicted upon them by people who have no sense of conscience or compassion. They are the hands of human beings who really feel that they are “strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12).

On this dawn of Pascha then, may our spirit rise up in prayer. Let us extend our hands with love and concern to all the people who stretch their hands forth to a resurrection and to us who today are blessed with the opportunity to celebrate Pascha and our deliverance from death.  Let us reach out to one another and embrace those who are in need; share with them the bountiful gifts of Pascha: peace, the Holy Spirit, remission of sins, and, most of all, the fruits of the Spirit, which are “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). They are offered to us by the Risen Lord when He calls us to Him and says: “receive the Holy Spirit”.

May you all become bearers of light, and may your beaming rays shine like beacons to brighten the New Day, which Christ fills with His Divine presence. He will make it shine with His glory and love for us. And then, this Great Day, this joyous Feast, will be crowned with the hope for world peace and the Lord’s promise for a new creation.

May the Grace and peace of our Risen Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ be with you always!


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