The Feast of Feasts, the Lord’s Pascha, 2011

Archpastoral Message of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Jonah

Pascha 2011

To the Very Reverend and Reverend Clergy, Monastics, and Faithful
of The Orthodox Church in America


Dearly Beloved in the Lord: Christ is Risen!

“This is the day that the Lord has made.” Today, our Lord is risen from the dead, releasing each of us from our sins and, ultimately, death itself. It marks the beginning of a new life filled with the radiance of Christ’s resurrection. “Let us rejoice and be glad in it!”

This newness of life has the power to transform us. The efforts and struggles we faced on our journey through Great Lent have prepared us for Christ’s victory over death. Our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving were not ends unto themselves; rather, they were the tools that allowed us to empty ourselves of our passions and receive Christ into our hearts. As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” [Galatians 2:20].

As our Paschal Lamb, Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself so that each of us may live a new life filled with joy, faith, and love. By His resurrection from the dead—and our resurrection in Him—we have become partakers of His divine nature. He has become our daily bread, nourishing us and giving us the strength to live as Christians in today’s world. Let us cast off the shackles of our former lives, and be clothed in the robe of light, illumined by the light of Christ’s resurrection. Let us open our minds and hearts to the light that beams forth from the empty tomb.

Our Lord has given us an example of love so beautiful, so wonderful, and so powerful that it must be the foundation of everything we do in our lives. The love of God has destroyed the power of death and overcome the devil. What a magnificent blessing! The love of God the Father, revealed in Christ’s obedience unto death, has wiped the slate clean, and we are given a new beginning. What an amazing treasure! The sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross has conquered death. We are set free. What a divine gift!

The Paschal joy that we feel today cannot and must not end with the dismissal of today’s Liturgy or our agape meal—and certainly not with the return to our “daily routines.” When we allow Christ’s joy and love to permeate every facet of our lives, the light of Christ’s resurrection will continue in our hearts long after our Paschal candles have been extinguished.

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ! Let us give glory to the One Who rose from the dead! And let us, as members of the Body of Christ, partake in His love, and share it with everyone around us!

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!

With love in the risen Christ,

Archbishop of Washington
Metropolitan of All America and Canada