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April 18, 2023

1937 Paschal Message of St. John Maximovitch

 Christ is Risen!

“Though you descended into the tomb, O Immortal One, yet you destroyed the power of Hades.”

The tomb and hades are the consequences of sin. Sin has produced death that separates the soul from the body. Dying, a man, before the coming of Christ, with his body descended into the grave, and with his soul into hades. “I will descend to my son, lamenting into hades” (Gen. 37:35), the righteous Jacob even said when he heard the news of the death of his son Joseph.

But here comes Life Himself: Christ the sinless takes upon Himself the consequences of sin - death.

“O the miracle! The Life of all tastes death! The unconnected cannot unite. Just as light and darkness cannot be together, so death and life cannot be together.

Who will win? Apparently, death conquers, for the Giver of Life dies on the Cross. In reality, the temporary victory of death brings its own eternal destruction.

“Today Hades cried out groaning: 'Would that I had not received the One born of Mary!'"

Death turns pale, struck by the radiance of Life, it feels that its end is coming - its sting, which killed everyone, piercing into the sinless Savior of the world, it breaks off from it, causing death to death itself.

By His death, Christ reveals eternal life. Those who die for Christ no longer “descend into hades with sorrow,” but ascend to the Kingdom of Heaven to live forever with Christ.

The tomb of Christ becomes a source of life, to which people flock from all over the world to find healing and strength of spirit in Him.

The tombs of those whose souls reign with Christ in heaven also become sources of healing, from which the graces of God pour out.

The coffin, which in ancient times was the personification of hades, now speaks to us of eternal life.

Let us mortify all our sins and lusts in ourselves in order to live forever with Christ and, not being afraid of death, now cry out with our mouths and hearts: “We celebrate the death of death, the destruction of hell, the beginning of another eternal life.”

Christ is Risen!

With God's blessing.

Pascha 1937 Shanghai.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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