To all the clergy, venerable monastics and faithful people
of the God-saved Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
My dear spiritual children in the Resurrected Christ,
Having hurried to our holy churches this Easter morning, just as the myrrh-bearing women had hurried very early to Christ’s tomb when they heard the seated angel at the entry ask, “Why do you seek the living amongst the dead?” ( Luke 24:5), let us, brothers and sisters, together with the myrrh-bearers, rush to the world with the good news, that the Lord has risen!
Yes, brothers and sisters, the good news of Christ’s resurrection is the only true and essential good news for mankind, which is exhausted by broken promises, deceitful political utopias and the artificial consolations of this fallen world.
We must recognise the fact that without Christ’s Resurrection every human achievement, every human progress, regardless of how sublime and successful it may seem, ends in inevitable regression, failure and death. A meaningless end and essentially bitter news for mankind.
What news does atheism and its materialistic world-view deliver us? What news can we expect from yogis, gurus and the New Age spiritualism of 'wise men' and demons of the Far-East? What news have the pseudo-enlighteners and false prophets brought to us up until now? The answer is BAD NEWS, brothers and sisters! When confronted with death, all their empty and useless words are exposed as void and meaningless.
Death only cowers when confronted by the presence of Christ. Before Him, death is unable to destroy and capture, but is itself destroyed and captured!
For this reason, brothers and sisters, Christianity is the only and complete truth in this world. It stands firmly on fact, on the real historical event of the Resurrection. A fact which is historically documented by eye-witnesses, of encounters with the Resurrected Christ our Lord. The Lord whom they touched with their hands, heard with their ears and saw with their eyes. (2 Peter 1:16, 1 John:1-3, John 21:1-14, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8). The truth of the resurrection, the victory over the triad of evil = sin, death and the devil, is testified to over the centuries in Christ’s Church as indeed we have been witness to. Consider, how many spiritually deceased were raised through the grace-filled power of the Resurrection which is manifested through the prayers of the Church. Consider, how many continue to be transfigured and are saved through the power of the Resurrected Lord. The Holy Apostle Paul boldly states, “If Christ did not rise from the dead, then our preaching is empty and our faith is empty,” (1 Corinthians 15:14) Therefore, the truth of Christianity is in the truth of the Resurrection.
Mindful of all of this, brothers and sisters, Christ’s Church, through her hymnography, beckons us to forgive and embrace each other in the joy of His Resurrection! That Christ’s peace and love may reign over us and the surrounding world. That through death and resurrection, Christ’s victory will heal our wounds and take away our fears, that He will lead us from enslavement to sin, death and the devil, to the grace-filled life in Him, which is for the man of Christ, the true Promised Land.
Let us this Pascha remember also, our brothers and sisters of Serbia’s crucified Jerusalem, on Kosovo and Metohija, praying that the Lord protects them from trouble and danger. Let us endeavour to live by the Kosovo Covenant left to us by our holy predecessors, that we might raise our children accordingly in Australia and New Zealand. The Kosovo Covenant is Christ’s Gospel, its values, ethos and life.
We also pray, brothers and sisters, for an end to the fratricidal bloodshed amongst our brothers in the Ukraine, which is being tragically fanned by those the likes of whom, King David said the following: “The words of their mouthes were smoother than butter, but war was in their heart: their words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.” (Psalm 55:21) May the Resurrected Lord bring the suffering to an end.
I beseech all the faithful to overcome the difficulties and temptations which we encounter, through prayer to the Resurrected Lord. Christ is the only sure support, the only true stability in the instability which surrounds us — the only hope, comfort and deliverance from our everyday crises,
Greeting all of you, my spiritual children across New Zealand and Australia, with the greeting of Christ’s victory, I pray for your plentiful strength, joy, comfort and spiritual joy!
Christ is Risen - Truly He is Risen!