Christ is Risen! Χριστός ἀνέστη! Христос Воскресе!
This sermon is read every year at the Paschal Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of the Resurrection.
Click here to listen to this sermon below read in Greek by Father Panteleimon.
“ If any be a devout lover of God, let him partake with gladness from this fair and radiant feast. If any be a faithful servant, let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord. If any have wearied himself with fasting, let him now enjoy his reward. If any have laboured from the first hour, let him receive today his rightful due. If any have come after the third, let him celebrate the feast with thankfulness. If any have come after the sixth, let him not be in doubt, for he will suffer no loss. If any have delayed until the ninth, let him not hesitate but draw near. If any have arrived only at the eleventh, let him not be afraid because he comes so late.
For the Master is generous and accepts the last even as the first. He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour in the same was as him who has laboured from the first. He accepts the deed, and commends the intention.
Enter then, all of you, into the joy of our Lord. First and last, receive alike your reward. Rich and poor, dance together. You who fasted and you who have not fasted, rejoice together. The table is fully laden: let all enjoy it. The calf is fatted: let none go away hungry.
Let none lament his poverty; for the universal Kingdom is revealed. Let none bewail his transgressions; for the light of forgiveness has risen from the tomb. Let none fear death; for death of the Saviour has set us free.
He has destroyed death by undergoing death. He has despoiled hell by descending into hell. He vexed it even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaiah foretold this when he cried: Hell was filled with bitterness when it met Thee face to face below; filled with bitterness, for it was brought to nothing; filled with bitterness, for it was mocked; filled with bitterness, for it was overthrown; filled with bitterness, for it was put in chains. Hell received a body, and encountered God. It received earth, and confronted heaven. O death, where is your sting? O hell, where is your victory?
Christ is risen! And you, o death, are annihilated! Christ is risen! And the evil ones are cast down! Christ is risen! And the angels rejoice! Christ is risen! And life is liberated! Christ is risen! And the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
++ Click the following link to download a pdf of The Paschal Homily of Saint John Chrysystom
And please take a minute to read our Metropolitan Ephraim’s Paschal Encyclical here in English, Greek and Russian.
Watch the miracle of the Holy Light as it appears again this year. The Light comes on the correct day and time every year – around 1pm on Holy Saturday -even though, as we know, the date of Pascha changes every year.
Click on the video below of this miracle taken earlier today proclaiming Our Savior’s triumph over death. Also, read a brief summary of this event below. The Holy Fire appears at about the 3 minute mark.
The Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem is the site where this miracle occurs. A heavenly flame comes forth inside the Holy Sepulcher and is distributed to the people by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem. Prior to the coming of the Light, the tomb is thoroughly searched by Israeli soldiers for any type of incendiary devices and is sealed upon their exit. The Patriarch is thoroughly searched also before being allowed to enter the tomb. The Patriarch enters alone and kneels in the darkness before the stone slab table until the the Light comes forth and he is able to light his 33 candles from it.
Often, even before the Patriarch emerges from the tomb with the Light, the Light flashes and sparkles, bounces and flies through the church. Pilgrims’ candles and church oil lamps ignite spontaneously all through the crowd of waiting believers.
The light burns without burning and pilgrims bathe in the flames as a blessing. By God’s grace this miracle occurred again today in Jerusalem. The crown chants over and over while awaiting the Light, “We are the Christians, this we have been for centuries and this we shall be for ever and ever. Amen!”
A few beautiful examples of Pascha traditions in our parish family!