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19 Apr, 2009 02:00

Russian Patriarch's Easter Address

The Easter Address by Russia's Patriarch Kirill to orthodox believers.

Dear and beloved in the Lord God; holy archpriests, elders, deacons, monks and all the faithful children of the Church.

Christ is risen! Once again, we greet each other with this exclamation of joy. The triumph of Easter fills our hearts, for Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of Life which has defeated Death, Vice and Decay.

It is our duty to experience Easter as a celebration of Life, and not only today, but also on every Sunday, for it shows to us the greatness of our Lord and Savior who has liberated us from Death and torn down the shackles of Sin separating man from God.

What is more, every minute in the life of a true Christian has to be filled with the joy of Easter. “I am the Resurrection and the Life,” said Jesus, “he who believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Christ’s resurrection has granted us true freedom, and has filled the existence of man with sense and hope.

Most importantly, it has opened the way to salvation to everyone who believes in Christ and abides in the Church. This means there is no reason for despair, dismay or fear for those who love the Lord and follow him at all times during their earthly journey, for “Christ is risen from the dead, and become the First Fruits of them that slept.”

The celebration of Easter embraces the whole world and all God’s creation, making it alive with His blessings. “Christ is risen and life is liberated!” says St. John Chrysostom in his Easter Sermon.

God’s gift of life, trampled and defiled by the fall of the old Adam, is revealed to us again in its fullness by the new Adam – Christ. Having been partakers in the fullness of this revelation of God’s mercy, my beloved, let us cherish and keep this gift. Where blood is shed and people suffer, where God’s image is trampled for the sake of personal gain, quarrel and selfishness, let us stand strong to protect it, fulfilling our Christian calling.

May our knowledge of Christ’s truth become a strong foundation for the testimony about the risen Christ to those who are near and far, so that they would find eternal life. May our mighty Lord give us all the strength to know Him, love one another, and do the deeds of mercy. Let us strive to make sure that not only the life of each one of us, but also the life of the whole of society is built on God’s commandments. For only by following them will people find fullness and harmony in their being.

By this we will show our love towards God, for He Himself said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” In these difficult times let us show our Christian calling through our works. Let us support each other, so that no one feels humiliated, neglected, poor and alone.

I wish to all of you to look heavenward in all your thoughts, deeds and intentions, remembering what the Apostle said: “Since you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

I am filled with joy about Christ, who conquered death and tore the bondage of Hades, and I would especially like to speak to the young people, who have much work, aspirations, and accomplishments ahead of them. You will have to put effort into building the future of our nation and our Church.

May the strength, talents and capacities that God gave you be used for the good of your neighbors in fulfillment of your calling, so that God’s Holy Will may be done.

My dearest, on this holy day I embrace and greet each one of you, sharing my joy with all who trust unto Christ’s holy name and everyone who is ready to heed in his heart the joy of the Easter greeting.

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed!