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Location: Houston, Texas, United States

My name is David Stone. I live in Houston, Texas. I am a 30-something single white male. I am an Orthodox Christian and am a member of an English-language parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR).

Monday, April 28, 2008

Paschal Encyclical Letter of THEODOROS II, Patriarch of Alexandria

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Encyclical Letter for Holy Pascha 2008 of THEODOROS II, Patriarch of Alexandria:

By the Grace of God, Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, to the plenitude of our Apostolic and Patriarchal Throne, Grace and Mercy and Peace from our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, risen from the dead.

Beloved and blessed children of the Lord,

Christ is risen!

The venerable Passion of our Lord and His world-saving Resurrection that our Church honours again and celebrates, is the only way toward the true redemption of man. The voluntary sacrifice of the Word of God, receives meaning in His resurrection from the dead. Death is defeated. The soul of man is redeemed and now has the potential of entering the Kingdom of Heaven. This is the aim of man’s life on earth.

These Holy Days of Great Week elevate our souls and lead us to spiritual rebirth. The Lord’s path of martyrdom shows us that meekness, humility, patience, the possibility of forgiveness and love, lead man to God.

After His voluntary sacrifice, the Risen Lord appears first to His disciples. His greeting contains God’s great gift to man. It contains the most significant element of our soul – Peace. With His greeting “Peace to you”, Jesus appears to His troubled and frightened disciples.

It is not necessary for others to teach us about the importance of peace – whether this peace is among persons, families, in society, among nations, in humanity. No one of us willingly chooses to have trouble and disturbance, whether personal or in the home. Those of us, not fortunate enough to have peace in our hearts and in our families are able to comprehend this as the calamity it is.

Man, on his own, is not able to obtain the required peace. One of the reasons and purposes of Christ’s presence in the world is to make this peace possible to us through faith and love and moral fortitude. We, the faithful, attain this through His sacrifice.

Worldly peace is unstable, hypocritical, full of small, temporal interests and profits and a myriad of other evils. Peace is not possible merely through an absence of war, or through the absence of an external enemy. It is not possible when our souls are troubled, when our marriages and morals are shaken, when daily there are murders, thefts, infidelities, turmoil and ingratitude.

What is this peace of Christ that is offered by His Resurrection? It is man’s openness and goodwill towards God and man’s goodwill towards his fellow-man, through the mediation of the Peacemaker – Christ. It is from Christ and through Christ that we realize a life of repentance, love, righteousness and justice.

The Peace of Jesus fills our heart and mind. It is accompanied by righteousness and love. It creates solidarity among the faithful, the willingness to serve one another and assist one another in all life’s goals. It is followed by meekness and a temper that is slow to anger. The peace of Jesus in our souls is the sweetest companion in our lives, day and night.

The Lord’s Resurrection calls us to Church. On Holy Thursday evening, lifting our eyes towards the Crucified One, our souls feel calmness radiating from the Suffering Lord and seek a harbor of salvation. The Risen Lord shows us the way of salvation with the Resurrectional Greeting “Peace be to you”.

My beloved and blessed children in the Lord – Greeks, Arabs and Africans throughout the African Continent,

On these Holy Days I send you my love and I pray that the peace of the Risen Lord finds its home in the hearts of all.

The Lord is truly risen!

† Τ h e o d o r o s II
Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa
In the Great City of Alexandria
Holy Pasha 2008



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