Brothers and sisters in the Lord,

“Christ is Risen” are the three words that transform the cosmos. They are the reason for Christ’s coming into the world, to save it and us from the tyranny of death. Christ entered into the deepest recesses of Hades and lifted up Adam and Eve from their tombs, saying, “Arise! Awake, O Sleeper! For I did not fashion you to be held in Hades as a captive. Arise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead!” (Homily of St. Epiphanius) In short, Christ Himself says we were not created for death, but for life. For this reason, we Christians have nothing to fear because our Lord and Savior has destroyed the power of death and corruption, which held us captive. And as we say at the Matins for the Resurrection, and most every Sunday, “Come, all faithful, let us worship Christ’s holy resurrection; for behold through the Cross joy has come to all the world.”

We will celebrate this Feast of Feasts in our churches at the Divine Liturgy. We will celebrate in our homes with our families, with magnificent dinners, breaking the fast. Some will dance, ending the austere period of Great Lent. We will teach our children to say, “Christ is Risen!” “Truly He is Risen!” We will send messages to friends and relatives all over the world sharing the Good News.

“Christ is Risen!” is more than a beautiful greeting. It is an invitation for each of us to lift ourselves up, to transform our own life. This transformation begins internally with the joy of hearing the news that Paradise has been opened for us, sanctifying all who believe (Cf. The Ainoi of Paschal Matins). As a result, we must work to shed our old ways and begin the new life in Christ, a life of reconciliation, a life of devotion to Almighty God.

“Christ is Risen!” is also a call to a new way of being in the world. Christ has saved the world; it is our task to live in the world in harmony with that salvation which the world needs now more than ever. Our daily lives can become instruments of salvation, through our care for one another, through our working for justice and peace, through our care for creation. We must look at our place in the world through the experience of resurrection, of death, and death being overthrown by the force of life, the life that comes from Jesus Christ, who emerged from the grave as King and Lord of all.

My beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord, even amid all the preparations in our churches and homes for this greatest of feasts, take time to reflect on the meaning of feast, and the meaning of these three simple words, “Christ is Risen.” Teach your children and grandchildren all our customs for the feast, but be sure to include the story of the resurrection and how it changed the world, then and now, when we proclaim the Good News. While the resurrection happened two millennia ago, the resurrection is happening today. We are not just celebrating an event, we are inaugurating a new way of life, a transformed way, the way of Jesus Christ.

May the risen Christ dwell in your hearts. May you and your families have a beautiful and most glorious Pascha.

Χριστός Ανέστη! Αληθώς Ανέστη!
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!