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PASCHAL EPISTLE of the Most Reverend AGAFANGEL, First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Synod of Bishops - Epistles from bishops Saturday, 23 April 2011

 

PASCHAL EPISTLE

Of the Most Reverend AGAFANGEL
Metropolitan of New York and Eastern America
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad

Right reverend bishops, honorable pastors,
pious monks and God-loving laypeople!
Dear brothers and sisters!

Christ is Risen!

Today we celebrate the victory of good over evil, truth over falsehood, godliness over wickedness, life over death! The Resurrection of Christ is a celebration given by the Savior Himself to his faithful disciples and followers, which lasts uninterrupted until the Final Judgment. No matter how much effort people spend to create their feast days, no matter how much fanfare is accorded them, they are only much ado about nothing and their impact is a pale comparison to the great celebration of the Christian faith.

In these days, the gates of Hades have arisen out of the depths of the earth. The entire contemporary world is now like the gates of Hades, trying to capture the Church which confesses Christ. Hades surrounds us with the faithlessness and hopelessness of spiritual torments accompanied by malice and transgressions, like a new global flood, drowning the earth with its evil. Only small islands of faith remain, which are also overcome one after another with the waters of unbelief and indifference.

I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18) These words of our Lord Jesus Christ have already been borne out for many centuries. They have been confirmed now as well, in our days. The determiners of destinies in this world desired to turn the page in the life of the Russian Church Abroad, but the Lord decreed differently and the Church has miraculously remained alive, just as Christ remained alive despite the Devil’s self-assured belief of his victory over Him!

We believe Christ and know that the Lord will not put our faith to shame. Truth which is trampled underfoot on earth is triumphant in Heaven for all eternity. It is glorified in the souls of those faithful to Christ and this glorification is visible especially now in the days of God’s union with mankind! Glory be to God, Who created us and gave us the Savior, who defeated death and granted eternal life to those who trust in Him!

Truly Christ is Risen!

+Metropolitan Agafangel
Odessa, Pascha 2011

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