MONTREAL: May 1, 2005

Paschal Epistle of Bishop Gabriel, Administrator of the Eastern Canadian Diocese

Dear in the Lord brothers and sisters!

Once again this unfathomable, joyous miracle is upon us—the miracle of the Pascha of Christ, the Bright Resurrection of Christ.

The Paschal Light, unmade by hands, illuminates even the deepest and darkest corners of the human heart, it defeats our insensitivity—that which St Ignatius Brianchaninov called "the illness of the soul which gives all other illnesses safe harbor." This insensitivity, he went on, that is, the deadening of spiritual sense, is the stone, the very great stone which was set upon the tomb where the crucified Savior of the world was laidÉ The "tomb is our heart. The heart was a temple; it became a tomb. The enemies of God place guards at the tomb, they seal the entrance, shut with a stoneÉ The enemies of God took great care to set up all obstacles to prevent the resurrection, to make it impossible."

But on the Pascha of Christ, the enormous stone flies from the tomb as though a feather, and the Resurrected Lord enters our hearts, raising it from the dead into Eternal Life.

"Death, where is thy sting? Where is thy victory? (I Corinthians 15:55). Whenever we hear these words in a church shining on Pascha, we miraculously realize that what we are seeing is the truth. Truly Christ is risen "Who descended into hell alone, but emerged with many," says St Cyril of Jerusalem, and this means that we are saved, we are not under control of death. It is for this unique feeling of immortality brought down upon us all by Christ's Holy Pascha we are drawn to the Church on this Feast of Feasts.

"On the Paschal Night almost every believing Christian senses something good, something consoling and joyful," wrote once in a Paschal epistle Archbishop Seraphim (Ivanov) of Chicago of blessed memory. "That is why even those of little faith strive to attend God's church on this wondrous night. Something draws them there." Who among us has not felt the truth in these words? This is the attraction of our souls to the Paschal Communion of God, the striving towards the Light of Christ's Resurrection. Let us not neglect these days of joy, beloved brothers and sisters, these days when the sense of our immortality, darkened by our daily lives and cares, is resurrected along with the Lord Jesus.

+Bishop Gabriel
Administrator of the Eastern Canadian Diocese

Pascha, 2005