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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 Message of Metropolitan Herman of the Orthodox Church in America

Archpastoral Message
of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman for Pascha:


Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful of The Orthodox Church in America

Dearly Beloved in the Lord,

The Gospel of St. John tells of St. Mary Magdalene's encounter with the Risen Christ at the empty tomb. St. Mary weeps, believing that someone has taken the Lord's Body away. Christ approaches her and asks her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" Not recognizing the Lord at first, she asks Him if He knows where the body of her Master has been taken. Jesus replies, "Mary!" and immediately she recognizes Him.

In this passage we witness a profound encounter between the Lord and His servant. Simply by saying her name, Christ transforms St. Mary Magdalene's lamentation into joy. What a difference even one word, spoken at a critical moment, can make in one's life.

Writing on this passage, St. Ambrose of Milan offers an important insight into the nature of faith. He states that by asking St. Mary, "Whom do you seek?" the Lord was in effect saying: "You are the cause of your own weeping; you are the author of your own lamentation, because you are disbelieving of Christ. Believe and you will see Him."

Looking at the world from the perspective of belief makes a profound difference in what we see. The homeless person that we pass on the street, through eyes of faith, is recognized as a living icon of the living God. The crying child in our arms, through eyes of faith, is embraced as a sacred trust that God has given us to raise according to His Way. The struggles and toils of daily life, through eyes of faith, are known to be the Cross which we are called to take up as disciples of the Lord.

For most in our society, "Easter" is long gone this year. For faithful Orthodox Christians, we have only just arrived at the celebration of Pascha. Our fasting, our prayer, our Lenten journey is only now fulfilled.

"Believe and you will see Him." The reality of the Resurrection, witnessed through eyes of faith, changes everything. No longer do we need to be subject to sorrow or fear. Christ is risen, and nothing can take His victorious gift of everlasting life away from us. The holy confessors and martyrs were well aware of this. This awareness gave them the courage to stay the course of their faith, under the greatest of hardships. Even facing the threat of death, through eyes of faith, they were acutely aware of the Victor of death strengthening and comforting them.

It is only through our belief that we behold the full splendor and beauty of Pascha. With eyes of faith, on Pascha we become witnesses to the complete and ultimate victory of life over death, of freedom over captivity, of God over the evil one. "Trampling down death by death," our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ grants new life to all who believe in Him as King and as God.

I greet all of you on this radiant feast. May we celebrate the most-holy day of Pascha "with faith and with love." May the triumphant brilliance of Christ's resurrection fill our lives with joy and peace. "Believe and we will see Him."

With love in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of Washington and New York
Metropolitan of All America and Canada



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