Pastoral Message for the Feast of the Resurrection – April 20, 2003

To the clergy, monastics, and the laity of the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh:

“Today all things are filled with light – earth and heaven and the world beneath. Then, let all creation celebrate the resurrection of Christ. In him is the firm foundation of all things” — Ode 3 Resurrection Matins

Today we celebrate that the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ has filled all of creation. Having traveled through the dark Ocean of the Fast, we have arrived at the brilliant shore of the resurrection. The dimly lit churches, the somber melodies of the Pre-sanctified Liturgy, the penitential red of the liturgical vestments, the prostrations and fatigue of fasting give way to and welcome the brightness of the resurrection that fills our churches and lives with joy, splendor and radiance. All creation comes alive and is filled with the light that cannot be contained – the light of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no need for darkness, fear, hesitation, or lack of courage. Indeed, “today, all things are filled with light – earth and heaven and the world beneath.”

Today the light of the resurrection of Christ permeates our very being. It saves us from all our fears, doubts and from taking ourselves too seriously. It frees us from an inflated view of our own importance and the need of a judgmental spirit. It lifts the burden of having to be totally in charge of our lives – indeed of the whole of creation – in a manner that leads only to darkness. It is the antidote to sadness, depression and despair that constricts and oppresses our hearts. It fills us with light, joy and peace.

Today, the resurrection of Christ gives us a new perspective and perception of all of creation. It enables us to appreciate all our brothers and sisters – family, friends and especially our enemies – in whom the Light shines. It enables us to appreciate ourselves and accept that we are created in the image and likeness of God. It searches out the deep recesses of darkness within and fills them with light. Whether or not we prayed, fasted or gave alms during the Great Fast, there is room for all in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Isolation, loneliness and separation bring death; relationship, togetherness and community bring life. Just as it was important to travel over the Ocean of the Fast in community, it is important to celebrate the feast of Pascha together in the Church, the parish, the family and with friends.

Today, the resurrection of Christ restores the balance among people by conquering the distinctions between the high and the mighty, the weak and the lowly, the haves and the have-nots. The resurrection empowers the rich and the poor, the powerful and the powerless, the talented and those lacking in talents, the holy and those not so holy, friends and enemies to celebrate. The resurrection of Jesus breaks all barriers and divisions. It builds up and does not tear down, heals and does not destroy, opens and does not close, frees and does not imprison, tramples death and bestows life eternal.

Today we proclaim to the earth and heaven and the world beneath – Christ is risen. I bestow my blessing on all the clergy, monastics and laity of the Archeparchy on this great feast and together we proclaim: Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

In the name of the Lord!

Metropolitan Archbishop of Pittsburgh