April 21, 2023

1947 Paschal Message of St. John Maximovitch

 Christ is Risen!

“This is the appointed and holy day, the first Sabbath of the king and Lord, the feast of feasts and the festival of festivals.”

There are days in the year that the Lord elevated and sanctified (Sir. 33:9), days honored by people for great deeds and glorious events done in them.

But none of them can compare with the Bright Day of Christ's Resurrection.

On this day, the innocently condemned Teacher has risen from the dead, the Savior of the world has risen from the tomb.

On this day, death is mortified, the fruits of sin are destroyed, the power of the devil is crushed, his power is overthrown.

On this day, by His Resurrection, Christ opened the way to resurrection for all people, gave eternal life to all mankind.

The souls of the dead were taken out of hades before the Savior's descent into it, those who die after the Resurrection in orthodoxy and piety were delivered from it.

Those who will be cast down there for sins are also not deprived of the hope of deliverance, if they have in themselves the beginnings of goodness and trust in God's mercy; offered for them daily in church is the Bloodless Sacrifice to the Risen One.

Joy is now proclaimed to all: to the dead and the living, to those who lived before and those who are to live after.

Some are already tasting the fruits, others the light of the Resurrection illuminates the way through the sea of life.

Some have already heard, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yea, says the Spirit, let them rest from their labors, for their deeds go after them!” (Rev. 14:13). Others hear the voice of the Caller - "Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28).

"But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven" (Heb. 12:22); resort to this, seeking help from them.

Heaven is now worthy of rejoicing, while the earth rejoices, the whole visible and invisible world is celebrating!

Great was the day when "God created heaven and earth" (Gen. 1:1). But the heavens were shocked by the indignation and the fall of Lucifer, and the earth was defiled by the sins of people.

The sky darkened and the earth shook to its foundations, when their Creator was slain by His creation like a villain. And now heaven, earth and hades are filled with light. The prince of this world is banished out, the Lord says to those who are in hades - "Enter again into paradise."

This day restores the primitive goodness of the nature created by God, opens to people the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world.

Eternal and immutable are the blessings and divine joy bestowed by the Resurrection of Christ.

Therefore, there is no day more glorious than the day of the Resurrection, on which we will bless Christ forever!

Today, every creature rejoices and is glad, as Christ is risen and hades is held captive!

Pascha 1947 Shanghai

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

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