Paschal encyclical of H.G. Bishop Dr. Mitrofan 2021.
“and Who rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures”
Dear brothers and sisters,
Thus, every day, and especially at the Holy Liturgy, we confess our faith in the Lord and God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. For everything that happened to Christ and was fulfilled in Him was according to the Scriptures, that is, according to the Old Testament prophecies. Remember the appearance of the Lord Christ to the two disciples when they went to Emmaus. "And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." (Luke 24:27). And they only later realized that He was that, so they confessed to each other: "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32). Then they concluded that the Old Testament prophecies could only refer to Him, and especially to His Resurrection. Because no one left such a strong impression on the Apostles as the Risen Christ. Therefore, after parting with Him, at His Ascension, they were able to return to Jerusalem with great joy (Luke 24:52). In addition, they realized that Christ had to suffer, to die, in order to be resurrected. These things cannot be separated. For, as one pious thinker said, "Great and Holy Friday and Pascha make one in the eternity of Your divine life, even though historical suffering precedes resurrection."
How splendidly states the ancient writer St. Melito of Sardis: "Instead of the Lamb, God came, instead of the sheep, man and in man, Christ, Who contains all things… Indeed, born as a Son, brought as a Lamb, sacrificed as a sheep, buried as a man, He rose from the dead as God. He Who is everything: The Law when He judges, the Logos when He teaches, the Grace when He saves, the Son when He is born, the sheep when He suffers, the man when He is buried, God when He is resurrected, that is how Jesus Christ is revealed to us ".
Dear brothers and sisters,
Resurrection is Revelation. It is an outpouring of grace that does not destroy human nature, rather transforms it. It was for us. God had no need to be resurrected. Resurrection is the transition to a new life that is both eternally divine and human. Resurrection is neither Platonic immortality nor moving for survival in an Indian karma, but a new moment of creation. The risen Christ the Lord gives new meaning to man and creation. It is the victory of good over evil, of life over death. It is God's victory over Satan. Because, as someone nicely said, after the Resurrection, nowhere is it seen that a demon appears in the existence of the risen Lord.
And let that be an unshakable hope for us in these difficult days of the Covid-19 pandemic. This contagion that came into the world is because of our sins. Let us repent! And let us believe that good will defeat evil, that life will defeat death. Although we will celebrate the Resurrection of Christ- the New Passover for the second year in a row, in special conditions, let us be joyful. Let us share that joy with everyone: with our neighbors in body and the Orthodox faith, and even with those who hate us. Let us dedicate ourselves more to prayer and doing good deeds. Let us partake of the immortal and life-giving Sacraments of Christ. We remember in our prayers all those who suffer and lie in hospitals, or at home. We remember all the doctors and support staff who work day and night and selflessly to alleviate their suffering, risking their own health. Let us remember all our loved ones who fell asleep in the Lord with the hope of resurrection and eternal life. We also remember all those who did not have time to be reconciled with the Lord and their neighbors due to a serious illness or sudden death. If we do so, then we will truly and lovingly celebrate the Lord’s Pascha.
In the end, we want to thank you for your gifts from the heart to our Diocese, monastery, churches, every brother and sister who were in need. Many of you did it, separating yourself, even though you yourself were in a material and financial crisis. May the Risen Lord return to you in His heavenly blessings for every good deed.
Once again, we greet you with all our hearts with the most joyous words:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
TRULY HE IS RISEN!
Your intercessor before the Resurrected Christ,
BISHOP OF CANADA MITROFAN