BY THE GRACE OF GOD BISHOP OF THE METROPOLITANATE OF AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OF THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
Beloved monastics, clergy, all sons and daughters, faithful spiritual children of our Holy Church in Australia and New Zealand, from a paternal heart overflowing with Paschal joy, We greet all of you on this great and most radiant Feast of Feasts greeting all with the inspired words of the Venerable John of Damascus:
Let us purify our senses and we shall see Christ Shining in the unapproachable light of His resurrection. We shall clearly hear him say rejoice, as we sing the song of victory:(Paschal Canon—Song 1)
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Most beloved, in order to encounter the Risen Christ, who shines in the unapproachable light of His resurrection, in order to choose God that we may live according to the Gospel, all this does not mean the renunciation of happiness and satisfaction in this life, as we can clearly hear Him say: Rejoice! How will we be able to rejoice if we do not experience the transfiguration of happiness and satisfaction? Joy can be considered the ability to live here and now in this happiness that is yet to come, to feel and taste it. Unlike mere satisfaction, joy is essential happiness and everlasting satisfaction that does not depend upon the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
In this world there are many objective difficulties and adversities that we cannot influence, however, there are those which are subjective, that we create, either of our own volition or inadvertently which thereby depend on us. Many dilemmas, the solution and responsibility of which we relegate to others or expect others to solve, are most often are within our own might and domain. If we did everything in our power, no matter how impoverished, it is certain that our life would be more bearable, meaningful and certainly more beautiful. Because beauty and the meaning of life do not depend on transient prosperity. Anyone can be joyful in small things if they purify their senses by placing their mind in their heart. According to newly-illumined saint, the Venerable Elder Paisius of Mount Athos: "A clean, good thought has greater might than any feat."
Therefore, beloved Spiritual Children, in order for us to be genuinely joyful and satisfied in the same, we do not need much. The entire world, since God created it out of nothingness, is an inexhaustible source of beauty offered to us. If we so desire and if we behold with impartial eyes, we can find beauty in everything. For the Creator, when He created the world, beheld everything that He created and sealed it with beauty saying that everything was very good (Gen.1:31). If anything disrupts this beauty, we do this on our own accord. As much as the life we live seems difficult, it truly has its sense according to Divine Providence.
The Lord did not bestow life to anyone for the simple sake of life. Our life has been given an exalted sense and we Orthodox Christians see this sense primarily in the revelation of the Word of God and the greatest sense we see is in the person of the Risen Lord. For Christ, who "conforming to the body of our lowliness", is the image of our expectations. In Him is the fullness of both Divine and human nature for He, who did not create death, voluntarily gave Himself in exchange for death, once and for always to break the infernal chains of death that kept us in bondage so that He might be Himself "the first in all things, "according to the sublime words of the Divine Liturgy of St Basil the Great, with which we fervently prayed during the past Great Lent.
Our whole life will conclude in the victory of life by resurrection. Thus, when the eye of the heart perceives the meaning of life, only through this unique prism we shall see clearly, without detraction, the very meaning of life. Only then will life have abundant personal meaning and none of the problems of this world will be able to disturb this sense. This most beautiful, true beauty of life, is life in abundance. For the beauty of all that is passing is precisely the threshold that opens unto the horizons of everlasting beauty.
As our Holy Serbian and All Orthodox Bishop Nicholai stated, "Christ steps lightly"; to which he adds "God does not need quick, but lasting victories." The onus on us is, as always, to be on God's side; and God will, as stated Patriarch Pavle of blessed repose, "help, if he has whom to help." Struggling thus against evil in ourselves and the world, and loving justice and truth, which have their source and end in the God of Love, we will be able to promptly stop and break free of dishonourable, evil rashness. Therefore the Lord said to us in anticipation of His voluntary and for us, salvific suffering: "Be careful, see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come" (Matt. 24:6).
In joyful anticipation of the Coming of the Age, in which the mystical link that will unite beauty with the final silent threshold will be realised, through which all of us will be invited to cross, there where the Gate of Beauty will be opened unto the ages, with all our heart, Our joy, let us exclaim:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
TRULY, HE IS RISEN!
Given in Sydney, at Pascha in the Year 2015
Your fervent intercessor before the Risen Christ,
Bishop of the Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand