Beloved brothers in Christ and children in the risen Lord,
"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say: Rejoice"; "The Lord is near"1!...
With this apostolic greeting our Holy Mother the Church addresses us today, on this greatest feast of our faith, the Resurrection of our Lord.
Rejoice, therefore, always, with the inexpressible and glorious joy2 which springs from our union and communion with our resurrected Saviour Jesus Christ!
And the repetition of this blessed injunction: "Again I say: Rejoice!" is joined with the reminder and the affirmation that "the Lord is near!"...
Christ, our Lord and our God, is "near" us. More precisely, He is here with us and through the grace of the Resurrection and communion of the all-pure Mysteries is present in our hearts.
Beloved children in the Lord,
This joy, this joy in the Lord, holds rule in all aspects of our life in Christ, even in the moments of our most fervent repentance, for when a person laments and weeps over his sins, even at that time he senses the blessed "joyful sorrow", as this is called by the Holy Fathers.
The absence of this joy, of this paschal and supernatural joy, has been considered to be a disquieting sign from ancient times in our sacred Tradition. Why?
Because "joy" is "fruit of the [Holy] Spirit"3 and consequently its absence from our hearts witnesses to the absence of the Divine Paraclete.
When the peace-bestowing and peace-making Holy Spirit rests within us, then it brings us into "communion with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ"4 and thus by grace we become temples of the Holy Trinity.
In the Holy Scriptures, God is the "jealous" Bridegroom Who "desires" us in the extreme5 and demands our total dedication to Him. But if our heart, like an "adulteress", betrays His love and becomes enmeshed in the mire of the world, then He "turns His face away" from us, He abandons us, and we are overcome by sorrow, restlessness and disquiet...
Beloved children in Christ,
Let our efforts be constant, with the help of our joy-bringing Lady Theotokos, lest we betray our Bridegroom and so that "the Spirit of glory and power and Divinity"6 rest upon us and fill our hearts with joy and gladness and peace and hope.
Let us never forget, that life in Christ is directed to acquiring the Holy Spirit, that is, for us to receive, through repentance, fulfilling the commandments and the all-pure Mysteries, the joy-creating and renewing and sanctifying Grace of the Paraclete so that we become "partakers of Divine nature"7, gods by grace.
Then we will experience our own personal resurrection. Then we will know by experience that, as the Apostle Paul writes, "the Kingdom of God is peace and joy in the Holy Spirit"8. Then being resurrected together with our Lord and filled with godly joy, we will preach Jesus Christ crucified and risen, chanting with gladness:
"Come all ye peoples, let us learn the power of the fearsome mystery, for Christ our Saviour, the pre-eternal Word, was crucified for us and was voluntarily buried and rose from the dead to save all; let us worship Him"9.
To Him be all glory, honor and thanksgiving with the Father and the Holy Spirit unto the ages. Amen!
Christ is risen! Truly He is risen!
Holy Pascha of the year of salvation 2001
Your intercessor before the risen Lord,
+ Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili,
President of the Holy Synod in Resistance
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