‘Let hope give you strength’: Patriarch Kirill sends Easter message

Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, is delivering his traditional Easter address to Orthodox believers.

­I address you, dear brothers and sisters, with this Paschal greeting: Christ is risen!

This greeting, which we have inherited from the days of holy apostles, proclaims divine truth and asserts a historical fact. Indeed, 2,000 years have passed, but nobody can say that this greeting is no longer relevant. It is living and effective, and this alone manifests divine power and truth.

The greeting that you have just heard and that you will pass to each other later today contains a great hope, because our Lord Jesus Christ, being without sin, in other words not having sinned before men or before God, was crucified, and before that subject to suffering, torture and humiliation.

How often, when facing suffering, especially suffering inflicted by other people, we become anxious and desperate. We think that it is unjust for us to suffer, that we don’t deserve this. We resist injustice. Believers often say that by being reviled they are bearing their cross.

So why is apostles’ greeting, ‘Christ is risen!’, a sign of hope for us? It’s because if Christ, who was without sin, suffered, we, too, should remember our Lord and Savior when facing injustice, slander, malice and lies.

Every one of us, even those who suffer unjustly, has some personal sins, some wrongdoings. This alone means that we can regard our suffering as a punishment for our wrongdoings.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, who had not committed any wrongdoing and had never lied, accepted reviling from people and even agreed to be put to death being innocent.

The Lord has taken the way of the cross, and now He encourages us to follow Him and remember that resurrection follows the cross.

The Lord has risen from the dead, and this resurrection is His victory over all those lies.

We believe that as we proclaim, with faith and hope, that Christ is risen, we too are heirs to everything Christ entrusted to His apostles, because Easter, the day of Christ’s resurrection, is a day of great hope, which should strengthen us in our sorrows, help us overcome hardships, cope with injustice and move forward remembering that Christ defeated evil, which means that we too should overcome evil in our lives, through the power of God, the power of prayer and the power of faith.

That is why the holy day of Easter is a celebration of hope for all people.

I would like to share the joy of this celebration and the joy of Christian hope with you. Let this hope give you strength to go through your life, following the great, unfading and shining image of the risen Christ.

CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!