Archbishop Kyrill: Pascha 2004

Archbishop of San Francisco and Western America
Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia

O Christ, Thou Pascha great and most holy! O Thou Wisdom and Word and power of God!
Grant that more perfectly we may partake of Thee in the never-ending day of Thy Kingdom.
(from the 9th Ode of the Pascha Canon)

Dear in the Lord Fathers, Brothers, Sisters, and Children!

I greet you with the Radiant Resurrection of Christ and wish you from the Risen Lord all the good things both spiritual and physical that are needful for our eternal salvation.


No matter how many times we may pronounce these words they awaken in our believing Orthodox hearts every time radiant, joyful feelings. If we sometimes rejoice in the sun and its warmth, not ceasing to be enamored of the reflection of the evening light of the setting radiant heavenly body, then even more will our hearts never cease to rejoice at the most radiant event—the Resurrection of Christ! Can we compare this with any other joy? The light of this eternal joy fills the Orthodox believing soul with happiness; in these two short words of the Paschal greeting the entire essence of our faith is expressed, the entire strength and unshakability of our hope in the Lord, the sensation of all of the sweetness and all of the blessedness of our life with our Most Sweetest Savior. In our souls, during Passion Week, we just experienced the suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ for the sins of all people. We know that the mercy of God and the Redeeming sacrifice of the Resurrected Lord will not save from eternal punishment that sinner, who remains unrepentant in his sins and remains obstinate in them. However, be glad and rejoice, rejoice O repentant sinner in the Resurrected Lord and Savior! He rose again for your joy in the never-ending ages, so that you, having been forgiven, would be with Him in that place where He ascended after His struggle. For this reason St. John Chrysostom in his fiery Paschal Sermon says: "Let no one weep for his sins, because from the tomb forgiveness shone forth for us all!" Do not weep for those sins in which you are repenting, because The Saviour suffered for you, He shed His Blood for you, He suffered and rose again – and in the name of this Blood He now embraces your repentant soul. The Resurrection of Christ is celebrated not only by the Church on the earth, but also by the Heavenly Church, the Church Triumphant. In the Kingdom of Heaven there is no sickness, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting. Salvation of the soul—this is the goal of the entire life of an Orthodox person. And it is specifically the salvation of our souls, the triumph over sin that the Resurrected God demands of us. Salvation of a person's soul cannot occur without Divine participation, because it is the gift of the Lord. Pascha is an enormous spiritual joy, which gives us the opportunity to be participants in the "never-ending day" of the Kingdom of God and truly (i.e. more closely than possible in earthly conditions) to commune with the Lord.

May the Risen Christ help us to always remain in the Paschal joy and to achieve eternal salvation! Amen.

+Archbishop Kyrill
The Pascha of Christ, 2004