Wednesday, April 12, 2017
To the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of Parish Councils, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Members of Philanthropic Organizations, the Youth and Youth Workers, and the entire Orthodox Christian Family in the United States of America
Beloved and faithful children of the Lord,
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
On the festive occasion of the glorious Resurrection of Christ, and on behalf of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, I greet you with the life-giving and joyous message of Holy Pascha: Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
As the great Feast of the Resurrection is upon us once again, we are invited to draw our hearts and minds away from that which is dark and to turn toward the Light of Christ; to avoid that which destroys and draw near to the renewal emanating from the Holy Sepulcher. The Feast of Feasts—Holy Pascha—is the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:2) and the restoration of our souls (Psalm 23:3). The Light of Christ shines out of darkness and into our hearts (2 Cor. 4:6).
We are also encouraged by the Lord to extend our personal experiences of Pascha to all people, in fact, to the entire world. And we know that our Lord urges us to love not just those who love us, but even those who hate us and persecute us.
Our hearts and minds, therefore, are with the unnamed man, woman and child living along the margins of our own neighborhoods, and with the countless people enduring persecution around the world. We offer our condolences and prayers for the dozens of Coptic Christians who tragically lost their lives as they celebrated Palm Sunday. And we remain vigilant and prayerful that the two Hierarchs who were kidnapped on April 22, 2013, Metropolitan Paul of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and Syriac Archbishop John, both of Aleppo, will safely return to us. The Light of the Holy Resurrection of Christ gives us hope, and while, Prophet Isaiah says, youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary (Isa. 40:31).
Together with my brother Hierarchs, the members of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America, I extend to you my fervent prayers that you and your loved ones continue to walk in the newness of life of the Holy Resurrection (Romans 6:4). Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
Prayerfully and with love in the Risen Lord,
† Archbishop Demetrios of America