Paschal Message of Bishop Tikhon

To the Venerable Pastors, God-loving Monastics and
Devout Faithful of the Diocese of Eastern Pennsylvania

I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth on me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth on me,
shall never die.  (John 11:25)

Dearly Beloved in the Risen Lord:

Death and corruption are realities that confront all human beings on a
daily basis. All of us face the certainty of our own physical death, the
suffering of our loved ones' illnesses and the division of our communities
through various human passions.

And yet on this day, the radiant and holy day of Pascha, the light of
Christ has risen upon all mortal human beings, shining with the light of
the Lord's victory over hell, corruption and death itself.  On this day,
the Lord's promise that whosoever liveth and believeth on me, shall never
die is fulfilled in us, for His victory has become our victory.

The Holy Apostle Paul reminds us of this when he says: Know ye not that so
many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his
death?  Therefore, we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like
as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we
should also walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together
in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his
resurrection (Romans 6:3-5)

The feast of Pascha is not simply a commemoration of  Christ's rising from
the dead; it is the celebration of the reality of our own resurrection, a
confirmation within the depth of our hearts that even in our darkest
moments of pain and struggle, Christ is with us, offering us His peace,
His joy and His life.

As we celebrate the Feast of Feasts, let us all receive that light in our
hearts and rejoice in the Lord with thanksgiving for His great victory,
crying out: Yesterday, O Christ, I was buried with Thee, and today I rise
again with Thee, in Thy rising. Yesterday I was crucified with Thee, now
glorify me, O Savior, in Thy Kingdom (Paschal Canon, Ode III).

Christ is risen! Indeed He is risen!

Bishop of Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania

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