WESTERN AMERICAN DIOCESE: May 7, 2014
PASCHAL EPISTLE OF HIS EMINENCE ARCHBISHOP MICHAEL TO THE GOD-LOVING FLOCK OF GENEVA AND WESTERN EUROPE OF THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH OUTSIDE OF RUSSIA
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Beloved in the Lord Clergymen, Laity and Children:
Every year, during these days of Paschal joy, when the heart of each one of us is enveloped in the knowledge that the Risen Christ is present among us all, we are given the great gift of Divine Mercy. The Lord visits us in a special way at this time, imparting spiritual strength to everyone, strength that heals all sorrows, doubts and temptations. Christ is Risen, and the people rejoice! Every year we repeat this sense of elation.
It is the Holiday of Holidays! There is nothing greater than the Power of God—the source of live and victory over death, life eternal, conquering all who resist. Powers which struggle against God, against mankind, try to tear human souls from their cognizance of Divine Power. They make physical attacks on man, separating him from the very foundation of life and attempt to destroy his reason. For man cannot deem himself the creator, for he did not create the world, God did so. All creative powers that man has are given to him by God. People who misunderstand this come to despair, to a feeling of impotence which deprives him of creative power, they fall away from healthy reason and fall to destruction.
We behold with fear such thoughts among philosophers and even in government circles. We see how at societal and government gatherings measures are introduced, voted upon and enacted which touch upon the very moral foundations of humanity and family. New “rights” are discussed. Concepts are introduced such as “the right to die,” unnatural principles which dispose of natural notions of family and uproot the basis of family existence. The words “father” and “mother” are replaced by other names. Such temptations occur because of apostasy from Tradition. Tradition itself strengthens the correct concepts of the foundations of life, both societal and personal.
A new ideological assault against Tradition is taking place. The 20 th century produced great horrors, but can mankind in the 21 st century, after such tribulations, once again return to the path leading to Christ? The choice of Orthodox Christians must be clear. There is only one road, and Christ leads us by the hand, so long as we don’t resist Him.
Many parishes have grown and strengthened in our Western European Diocese. The flock is growing in numbers, and thank God, retiring pastors are being replaced. The main thing is that despite certain difficulties, new families are being created, more and more children are being brought to church for Holy Communion. From the bottom of my heart and all my soul, I congratulate all of you, my dear ones, on the Great Feast Day of Feast Days!
“It is the Day of Resurrection! Let us be radiant, O people! Pascha! The Lord's Pascha! For Christ our God has brought us from death to life, and from earth unto heaven, as we sing triumphant hymns!”
INDEED HE IS RISEN!