Paschal Epistle of His Grace, Archbishop Hilarion of Sydney,
Australia and New Zealand

Beloved in the Lord, Clergy and Flock of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese!

Christ is Risen!

By God's mercy we are again celebrating Holy Pascha! The Divine Light of Christ's Resurrection, which knows no bounds, illumines and fills our hearts with joy. "Now all things are filled with light: heaven and earth, and the nether regions. So let all creation then celebrate the Resurrection of Christ, by which it is strengthened" (Song 3 of the Paschal Canon). The Apostle testifies that the light of Christ shines even in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5).

Truly, beloved, the grace of God, which enlightens and sanctifies us in our daily life, now visibly comes down in the grace of the immaterial Fire in Jerusalem at the Lord's Tomb and likewise visibly fills us all with its joy. May this joy of divine communion abide in us always, so that we, sharing it with others, may all hold fast to the Christian virtues and the Orthodox way of life. We may then exclaim together with the prophet of old: "O death! Where is your sting? O hades! Where is your victory?" (Hosea 13:14; 1 Cor. 15:55).

Christ is risen, and through His Resurrection we become a nation of God, a nation forgiven. We arise with Christ from the font unto a new life. Clothe yourselves, the Apostle Paul beckons to us, in the new man. Christ is risen and He raises us up for good works (Ephesians 2:10).

Beloved in the Lord, reverend pastors, monks and nuns, all the God-loving children of our Australian and New Zealand flock, sharing with you the joy of the Resurrection of Christ, I greet you all with the great feast of Holy Pascha! May the Risen Lord come to us through His grace, may He sanctify our mind and senses and direct us to good works, kindling our hearts by His love. May peace, a pure faith and the love of Christ ever abide in us. And may our joy in His Resurrection be unending.

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

+ Archbishop Hilarion
of Sydney, Australia and New Zealand

Pascha 2005