Patriarchal Encyclical for Holy Easter 2022 – Archon News Article
BY GOD’S MERCY ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE-NEW ROME
AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH
TO THE FULLNESS OF THE CHURCH: GRACE, PEACE AND MERCY
OF THE RISEN CHRIST IN GLORY BE WITH YOU ALL
* * *
Having run the course of ascetic struggles during the Holy and Great Lent and compunsively experienced the venerable Passion of the Lord, we are now filled with the eternal light of His splendid Resurrection, therefore we praise and glorify His transcendent name, joyfully shouting the message to the whole world: “Christ is risen!
The Resurrection is the core of the faith, devotion, culture and hope of Orthodox Christians. The life of the Church – in its divine-human, sacramental and liturgical, as well as spiritual, moral and pastoral expression and in the good witness to the grace that has come in Christ and the expected “common resurrection” – embodies and reflects the annihilation of the power of death through the Cross and Resurrection of our Saviour, as well as the liberation of mankind from “the slavery of evil”. This resurrection is attested by the saints and martyrs of the faith, by the doctrine and ethos, but also by the canonical structure and function of the Church, as well as by the sacred churches, monasteries and venerable sites, the pious zeal of the clergy and the unconditional commitment of those who have given their “having” and their “being” to Christ as monks, as well as the orthodox phroneme of the faithful and the eschatological impulse of our lifestyle ecclesiastical as a whole.
For us Orthodox, the celebration of Easter is not a temporal escape from worldly reality and its contradictions, but a proclamation of our unshakable faith that the Redeemer of the race of Adam, who trampled death with death, is the Master of history, the eternal “with us” and “for us” God of love. Easter is the experience of the certainty that Christ is the Truth that sets us free; it is the foundation, the existential axis and the horizon of our life. “Apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15.5). No circumstance, “tribulation or distress, persecution or famine, nakedness, peril or sword” (Rom 8:35) can separate the faithful from the love of Christ. This unshakable conviction inspires and enlivens our creativity and our desire to become “co-workers with God” in this world (1 Cor. 3:9). It guarantees that, in the face of every insurmountable obstacle and dead end, where no human solution is conceivable, there is always hope and perspective. “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). In the risen Christ we know that evil, whatever its form, does not have the last word in the path of humanity.
However, even as we are filled with gratitude and joy for this supreme value attributed to human beings by the Lord of glory, we are discouraged in the face of multifaceted violence, social injustice and the violation of human rights. in our time. “The radiant message of the resurrection” and our cry “Christ is risen!” resound today alongside the appalling sound of arms, the cries of distress of the innocent victims of military aggression and the plight of refugees, among whom there are many innocent children. We saw all these problems with our own eyes during our recent visit to Poland, where the vast majority of Ukrainian refugees have fled. We stand and suffer alongside the pious and courageous people of Ukraine who carry a heavy cross. We pray and fight for peace and justice and for all who are deprived of it. It is unimaginable for us Christians to remain silent in the face of the erasure of human dignity. Along with the casualties of military conflict, the “greatest casualty” of war is humanity, which has failed to eradicate war in its long history. Not only does war not solve problems; it actually creates new and more complex problems. It sows division and hatred; it increases discord between peoples. We firmly believe that humanity is capable of living without war or violence.
The Church of Christ naturally functions as an agent of peace. Not only does he pray “for peace from above” and “peace of the whole world”, but he stresses the importance of all human effort to establish peace. The main characteristic of a Christian is to “make peace”. Christ blesses the peacemakers, whose struggle is a tangible presence of God in the world and portrays the peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4.7) in the “new creation”, the celestial kingdom of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit. As the document of the Ecumenical Patriarchate entitled For the life of the world, social ethos of the Orthodox Church aptly points out, the Church “honours the martyrs of peace as witnesses of the power of love, of the goodness of creation in its first and final forms, and to the ideal of human conduct established by Christ during his earthly ministry” (§ 44).
Easter is the feast of freedom, joy and peace. We solemnly praise the Resurrection of Christ through which we experience our own co-resurrection. And we faithfully adore the great mystery of the Divine Economy and we participate in “the feast which is common to all”. In this spirit, from the seat of the Church of Constantinople, which eternally participates in the Cross and Resurrection of Our Lord, we address to all of you, most honorable brother Hierarchs and beloved children, our heartfelt Easter greeting , invoking upon you the grace and mercy of Christ the God of all who put Hades to death and granted us eternal life.
At Phanar, Holy Easter 2022
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
Your fervent supplicant of the risen Lord
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