PASCHAL EPISTLE 2001

by KYRILL, Bishop of Western America & San Francisco Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

“Did not our hearts burn within us, when He spoke to us on the way?” (Luke 24:32)

Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, and Children!

From all my heart I greet you with the Greatest of all of the Feasts —the day of the Radiant Resurrection of Christ —with the eternal, and never-ceasing joyous words:Christ is Risen!The Lord rose to bring joy to the whole world, to bring joy to His disciples and to all of the righteous, who pleased God throughout the ages, who witnessed with all of their lives the great truth of the words of the holy Apostle Paul:“If Christ did not rise, then our faith is in vain. ”The Resurrection of Christ must fill our lives more radiantly than the bright light of the rays of the sun, and fire our hearts with the flame of that inspiration and spiritual uplift, which the travelers to Emmaus experienced on the very first evening of the Christian Pascha.

But just as one can hide from the rays of the sun in a cold dark place —so also can one distance oneself from the Light of the Resurrection of Christ by one ’s evil will and throw oneself into the vacuum of the darkness of faithlessness and the pit of unsatiated passions. But how terrible and dark then would become an individual’s life! For what reason then would one live, for what reason would one suffer, love, create something with effort, if everything will end with the grave? For if a person lacks faith, if there is no Radiant Resurrection of Christ, then there is no personal resurrection from the dead either. And then there will be nothing with which to fill one ’s soul, deformed by sin —a soul which by its nature is called by the Creator to strive toward immortal eternal Life.

Nothing, my dear ones, in our corrupt, troubled earthly existence can take the place of the Risen Christ: not material well-being, which has become now the meaning of life for countless millions of people in the contemporary world; nor physical health, with its insolent trust in the power of one’s sinews; nor an illusionary escape into science and art; nor an escape into what has now captivated many, to our great sorrow (especially the youth) — the diverse demonic Eastern cults with their heretical, from the point of view of the Holy Fathers and Teachers of the Church, teaching about “reincarnation.” The teaching of the Holy Fathers about the soul of man gives us an exact understanding of it as a created, individual, non-replicable in any other form, immortal, original essence of a man, defining his person.

To all of these people, sadly entangled in the nets of the “East", I would like to say, directed by my archpastoral conscience, that the only true and the greatest reincarnation which is possible on Earth of the whole man (his spirit, his soul, and his body) exists only within the Holy Orthodox Church for every one of Her members - in the moment of communion with the Holy Mysteries of Christ, when having received communion with the Holy Body and Blood of the Risen Christ, he is joined in the closest possible way with the True Existing God, In no way should the vanities of life eclipse for us the Radiant Face of our Saviour. Let faith in the Risen Christ, warmed by the constant burning of our hearts, fill our lives with meaning and lead us by the narrow and solely salvific path to our personal resurrection from the dead. Let us go then, my dear ones, toward eternal blessedness with Christ under the good yoke of His commandments, and let us be accompanied on this path, in our burning hearts, by those eternally rejoicing, immortal, victorious words:

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!





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