My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


(Part II)

Angels in the heavens extol Your
Resurrection, O Christ Our Savior.
Count us worthy who are here on
earth to glorify You with a pure

Christ is risen from the dead, by death
trampling down upon death, and to those
in the tombs, He has granted life.

O peoples, let us brilliantly shine!
Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha! For
Christ Our God has out of death
passed us over into life, and
likewise from earth to heaven, as
we now sing unto Him a triumphal

Let us purify our senses and then we shall
see by the unapproachable Light of the
Resurrection Christ shining vividly, and we
shall distinctly hear Him saying, Rejoice, to
us as we sing the triumphal hymn.

Let the heavens, as is fitting, now be jubilant; let
the earth be exultant. Let the entire cosmos, visible
and invisible now celebrate the feast. For Christ,
Our Eternal Joy has indeed from the dead been


The RESURRECTION OF CHRIST is the greatest event in history. It is what distinguishes Christianity from every other religion. The other religions have mortal leaders, while the Head of the Church is the RISEN CHRIST. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the RENEWAL OF HUMAN NATURE, THE RECREATION OF THE HUMAN RACE, and THE LIVING OF ESCHATOLOGICAL REALITY. When we speak of the Resurrection, we do not separate it from the Cross, for the Cross and the Resurrection are the two poles of the redemptive experience, just as we pray in the Church, "Through the Cross is joy come into all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, let us sing His Resurrection," or just as we sing "We venerate Thy Cross, O Master and we glorify Thy Holy Resurrection."

In the Church, we constantly speak of Christ’s Resurrection, which has great significance for the life of the believer. We do not believe in social revolutions, because the greatest good in the world came from the Resurrection and not from any human social revolution. Even if we correlate the Resurrection with true revolution, we find ourselves in the truth, from the point of view that through Christ’s Resurrection man RETURNED TO HIS ORIGINAL POSITION AND ROSE STILL HIGHER. The word for revolution is derived from a verb that means to come back to the former position. This rectification, the restoration of man took place through the Resurrection of Christ.

The holy Apostle Paul clearly proclaimed: "And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile" (1 Corinthians 15:17). The Truth and power of the faith is due to the shining fact of the Resurrection of Christ. Without this the Christians are "of all men the most pitiable" (1 Corinthians 15:19). The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated by the Church FROM THE MOMENT OF HIS DESCENT INTO HELL, WHERE HE FREED THE SOULS OF THE RIGHTEOUS OF THE Old Testament from the power of death and the devil. It is in this way that Our Church celebrates it. In the liturgical texts, it is seen clearly that the celebration of the Resurrection begins from Great Friday, as we see the Great Saturday service of Orthros (Matins), in which the funeral procession takes place. And the homilies of the holy Fathers on Great Friday are actually homilies of resurrection and victory.

In the Orthodox Holy Tradition Hades is not simply a particular place, BUT THE DOMINION OF DEATH AND THE DEVIL. We say that the souls of those people who are in the power of the devil and death are in Hades. It is in this sense that we must regard the Church’s teaching about the descent of Christ into Hell, that is, that Christ entered into the realm of death, accepted to die, whereupon by the power of His death He conquered death, made it completely powerless and weak, and gave every person the possibility, by His power and authority, to escape the dominion, the authority and power of death and the devil.

In the Troparia (hymns) of the Church, it is said that the Angel of the Lord brought to the Panagia (Theotokos) the message that Christ had risen. "The Angel cried unto her that is full of grace: O pure Virgin, rejoice, and again I say rejoice: for Thy Son hath arisen from the grave on the third day." Saint Gregory Palamas says the Panagia (All-Holy Mother of God) was surely and rightly THE FIRST TO BE TOLD THE GOOD NEWS OF THE RESURRECTION AND THE FIRST TO SEE THE RISEN CHRIST. This is surely connected with the fact that the Panagia had attained GREAT PURITY SINCE SHE HAD EXPERIENCED DEIFICATION (THEOSIS) FROM THE TIME SHE WAS A SMALL CHILD. The fact that the Evangelists avoided saying clearly that the Panagia was the first to see Christ has great significance, according to Saint Gregory, because they did not want to give the unbelievers occasion to doubt the fact of the Resurrection because it was His Mother who bore witness to it.

Just as she remained at the Cross up TO THE LAST MOMENT, so the Mother of God was the first to go to the tomb for the anointing of Christ’s Body with perfumes. This was not only because she was His Mother, but because OF HER LOFTY SPIRITUAL STATE, BECAUSE THOSE WHO HAVE A HIGH DEGREE OF SPIRITUAL VISION OF GOD HAVE THE GREATEST KNOWLEDGE AND THE MOST PERFECT LOVE.

After the first manifestations of Christ which took place on the Day of the Resurrection, there was His manifestation to the group of Disciples who were in the Upper Room the first time, when Thomas was not there, and the following Sunday, "after eight days, when Thomas was present" (John 20: 19-29). On His appearance, Christ gives them gifts. The first IS PEACE and the second IS THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT THEY MIGHT FORGIVE SINS. No one can give something which he does not have. This means that Christ as God IS PEACE because PEACE IS AN ENERGY OF THE Trinitarian God, and by His incarnation and Sacrifice, He RECONCILED HEAVEN WITH EARTH, ANGELS WITH MEN, MEN WITH GOD, AND MEN WITH THE WHOLE CREATION, AND INDEED HE RECONCILED ALL THE POWERS OF THE SOUL. Likewise, He gives the Holy Spirit, since the Holy Spirit rests in the Son. The Persons of the Holy Trinity HAVE COMMUNION AND UNION, IN ESSENCE, AND ENERGY,

After Saint Luke’s account of an appearance of Christ to the Disciples, it seems that Christ ate in front of them a part of a fried fish and honey from a honeycomb. To be sure, Christ’s Body after the Resurrection DID NOT NEED FOOD, BUT CHRIST DID THIS IN ORDER FOR THE DISCIPLES TO BE ASSURED THAT HE WAS NOT A GHOST, BUT HAD A SPIRITUAL AND TRANSFIGURED BODY. Naturally, since Christ’s Body after the Resurrection did not have a digestive system, this food was consumed by the divine energy and was NOT CHANGED in the customary in men. Just as fire consumes wax, so also the Divinity of Christ consumed the food which He took. This example is used by accommodation and has no absolute application because the fire which melts the wax is made of combustible material, while SPIRITUAL BODIES ARE NOT MAINTAINED BY NOURISHMENT (Saint Gregory Palamas).

The Day of the Resurrection is also called PASCHA. This word is repeated in many troparia (hymns) of the Church and gives spiritual joy to Orthodox Christians. According to Saint Gregory the Theologian, the Greek word ‘Pascha,’ derives from the Hebrew word ‘Phaska,’ which means ‘CROSSING.’ It is well known that the Hebrews’ feast of ‘Pascha’ celebrates the miraculous CROSSING OF THE Red Sea. To be sure, as Saint Gregory the Theologian says, there are some who think that the word ‘Pascha’ comes from ‘to suffer,’ that is to say, from Christ’s suffering for us. However, the former interpretation is better.

Just as the Israelite people celebrated the crossing of the Red Sea and the gaining of their freedom, so too the New Israel OF GRACE celebrates THE NEW CROSSING FROM DEATH TO LIFE. This interpretation is given to Saint Gregory the Theologian in his homily on Pascha. Saint John of Damakos taking almost identical texts from Saint Gregory the Theologian writes: "The Day of Resurrection! Let us be illuminated, O ye people! The Passover, the Passover of the Lord! From death unto life, and from earth unto heaven hath Christ our God brought us over, singing a song of victory!" (Source: The Feasts of the Lord by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos, Hierotheos)

(To be continued)

"Glory Be To GOD
All Things!"
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in Christ’s Holy Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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