2012 Paschal Greetings from Bishop Thomas


His Grace Bishop Thomas writes:

GREAT AND HOLY PASCHA 2012

Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

When they who were with Mary came, anticipating the dawn, and found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher, they heard from the Angel: Why seek ye among the dead, as though He was mortal man, Him who abideth in everlasting light? Behold the graveclothes. Go quickly and proclaim to the world that the Lord is risen, and hath put death to death. For He is the Son of God, who saveth the race of man. (Hypaköe of Pascha, Tone 4)

As we now gaze into the tomb with those who first heard the news of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, how should we understand this moment? Surely we know that this is the height and heart of our faith, that the beautiful and radiant message of the Resurrection is the defining word of the Orthodox Christian life. But how does this touch us in our own lives? How does this connect with us?

Just like those myrrh-bearing women of long ago who gazed into the sepulcher and came expecting to see death and disappointment, we, too, are people who find that our own vision is permeated by the expectation and the experience of death. The myrrh-bearers came to that tomb not out of joy but to mourn. They came there to pour their hearts into that place of death. But they were greeted there not with death, not with decay, but with life, and not just mere existence, but the Life of the World, the Life Who puts death to death.

Dear Christians, is there anything greater? Is there anything that more powerfully and profoundly communicates the destiny and great hope of mankind? How glorious! How joyful! How delightful! Let us say together those words that echo through the centuries: “Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!”

Yours in Christ,

Rt. Rev. Bishop Thomas (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic

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