Archpastoral Letter For Pascha 2020
Saturday, April 18, 2020
Protocol No. 14/2020
To the Very Reverend Protopresbyters, Very Reverend and Reverend Fathers, and Faithful Laity (young and old) of our God-Protected Diocese:
CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!.
Today I greet you with great love and joy in the Name of our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ following His glorious Resurrection. On Great and Holy Pascha, we behold the triumph of Christ, as He rose from death to life, from darkness of the tomb into the Light. With the Resurrection of Christ, all Creation is filled with a new Light of life and joy. On this Feast of Feasts, this Holy Day of Holy Days, we all proclaim the only truth that matters, the Truth that Christ is Risen!
This year we have experienced a different Great Lent, Holy Week and Pascha from that which we normally do. The world has been turned upside down with the arrival of the Coronavirus known as Covid-19. This invisible entity has attacked us in a vicious way. Millions of people have been exposed to the virus showing no symptoms. Many hundreds of thousands of humans have been sickened world-wide. Hundreds of thousands have died. People within our own Diocese have been exposed and some have even succumb to this dreaded affliction. May their memories be eternal!
This virus has caused the cancelling of an untold number of events worldwide. The NCAA Basketball Championship Tournament known as “March Madness” morphed into some other kind of “madness”. College students returned home to complete their studies online. Public and private schools sent the children home for good. Millions of people lost their jobs. Millions more were told to work from home. Some of our fellow human beings began acting as wild animals looking out only for themselves instead of considering how their actions might impact their neighbor. Disruptions and collapses in the financial markets frightened everyone. However, in all the chaos, real human beings, true heroes, began to appear in our midst. They included the healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, technicians, etc), first responders (police officers, firemen, EMTs, etc.) and other “essential” personnel who risked their lives and the lives of their family members to serve us their fellow man. God bless them all!
I do not know what the future holds in the weeks and months to come. I do know however, that the Church will not be overcome by a virus. I know that this is not the end, and I know that we will in fact worship together again as one big family in our Churches. All sickness, darkness and even death has been overcome by the Resurrected Christ. “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it,” (John 1:5).
This year even though we could not worship together in our local Churches for Holy Week and Pascha, we did worship in our “little churches” (our homes). As true believers and followers of Jesus Christ we can shout out joyfully that “CHRIST IS RISEN!”, “CHRISTOS VOSKRESE!”, “CHRISTOS ANESTI!” And we can respond “INDEED HE IS RISEN!”, “VOISTINNU VOSKRESE!”, “ALITHOS ANESTI!”
Let us sing of the beautiful triumphant hymn of the Resurrection with great strength and joy every day, multiple times a day, for 40 days.
“Christ is Risen, from the dead, trampling down death by death, and to those in the tombs, bestowing life.”
On this Bright and Holy Feast, I extend my prayerful best wishes to you, the Clergy and Laity, Friends and Supporters of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese. May you truly experience the love, joy, and excitement of the early followers of Christ when they first saw Him after His Resurrection. Christ is Risen!
Working in the Risen Lord’s Vineyard with much love,
+His Eminence, Metropolitan Gregory of Nyssa