Western American Diocese
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX
 CHURCH OUTSIDE
 OF RUSSIA
Western American Diocese
Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Metropolitan Nicholas of Eastern America and New York, First Hierarch of the Russian Church Abroad

Most Reverend Brother Archpastors, Beloved in the Lord Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters:

With joy and thankfulness in my heart, I greet you on this salvific night of Pascha, when our Lord Jesus Christ rose on the third day, pouring out His unfailing love and mercy on the whole world.

CHRIST IS RISEN!

This radiant and joyous Paschal greeting has the wonderworking power to call forth in the human heart joy, forgiveness of all, and love. "This… day which the Lord hath made" (Psalm 118:24) – Christ’s Pascha – gives wings of faith to those of little faith and strengthens those who despair of life. Truly, in a world frequently faced with crises and uncertainty, Pascha shines like a beacon of hope. Thus, in these difficult times, when mankind is seized by various misfortunes, let us hold fast to the Risen Christ and find in Him consolation amidst sorrows, strength in our ongoing struggle with sin, and surety of eternal life!

On the threshold of His suffering, the Lord was surrounded by human passions that led Him to Golgotha. The Pharisees had long sought to kill Him, while the people, who only days before had ecstatically greeted the Savior in Jerusalem, were now powerfully disenchanted with Him, because He did not turn out to be the political messiah who, as they had hoped, would deliver them from the Romans and restore the Kingdom of Israel. To the shouts of “Hosanna” and the cries of "Crucify Him!," just as to accusations and false witness, Christ responded with silence. As the Gospel says, "but Jesus held His peace" (Matthew 26:63). Preaching in Galilee and Jerusalem "the Gospel of the Kingdom" (Matthew 4:23), which "is not of this world" (John 18:36), Christ did not speak out about the Roman occupation or the imprisonment and execution of His Forerunner. He did not call on the people to overcome the torturous problems of human society or societal ills, but rather of fallen human nature – in the name of healing it and transforming it into a divine nature. The Lord preached His Gospel and worked wonders, comforting those in sorrows and strengthening their faith. And we, as the Body of Christ, raising ourselves above contemporary political squabbles of every stripe, are called to show care for the man starved of love, bringing him the good news of the God’s Word through prayer and the example of our lives. It is namely prayer that helps us to not become embittered and lose the image of God. And since working wonders is beyond our ability, we can and must, according to the commandment of Christ, selflessly do good deeds for the consolation of our neighbors. Therefore, as we celebrate "the saving Pascha of God," let us continue our labors in raising financial and humanitarian aid to benefit those who suffer, fervently praying for peace in the Holy Land and in Ukraine, and warmly receiving refugees, among them the clergy of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Acting in this way, we will make our humble contribution to the work of establishing Christ’s Kingdom, becoming "the light of the world" (John 8:12) and "the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). We note further that our so-called "silence" is not a passive state, but on the contrary – it is most active, demanding patience and great effort, and is instrumental in overcoming discord and accomplishing "the union of all," for which we pray at every divine service.

May our Lord Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, Who once said to His followers "Rejoice" (Matthew 28:9) and "Peace be unto you" (John 20:19), repeat these radiant greetings in the hearts of each of us in these holy and grace-filled days of the celebration of Holy Pascha. Amen.

With Paschal joy in the Risen Christ and asking your holy prayers,

+NICHOLAS
Metropolitan of Eastern America & New York
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

Christ’s Pascha 2024

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