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Unto the Reverend Priests and Deacons and the Pious Faithful of the Holy Metropolis of Pisidia.

Beloved Fathers, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Lord has made us worthy, once again, to relive His saving Passion and to witness His glorious Resurrection, and we all sing with one choir and one voice: “Having seen the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship the Holy Lord Jesus, the only sinless one. We worship your Cross, O Christ, and we praise and glorify your holy Resurrection.”

From year to year we celebrate the bright feast of Pascha, “this chosen and holy day, the first of Sabbaths, the Queen and Lady, the Feast of Feasts and the Festival of Festivals”. However, our celebration must not be reduced to the commemoration of an event of the past which we try to preserve in our memory at whatever cost. No, the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ is the celebration of an eternal mystery, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever” (Heb. 13:8).

Indeed, the Christian who truly lives in Christ since the day of his baptism experiences the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ on a daily basis. And his experience of the Resurrection is inseparable from the mystery of the Cross, because the Cross and the Resurrection are two faces of one and the same mystery: “for see, through the Cross, joy has come in all the world… For having endured the Cross for us, he has destroyed death by death”.

And in these last holy days, God has made us worthy to relive the saving Passion of Christ, and to hear again his final command: the command of love.Indeed, in spirit we were taken with his holy disciples and apostles to Gethsemane, and heard his words: “Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love” (Jn. 15:9-10). And what are his commandments? “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. 15:12). “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn. 13:35).

And in these last holy days, God has made us worthy to be once again witnesses of his heritage:“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn. 14:27). And for this reason, “On the evening of the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you!” (Jn. 20:19). And “eight days later, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, Peace be with you!” (Jn. 20:26).

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The crucified and resurrected Christ gave us the commandment of love and left us his peace as an inheritance. He has instructed us: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (Jn. 13:34). And He taught us: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Mt. 5:9). Thus, He inaugurated a culture of non-violence by saying: “To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” (Lk. 6:29).

Unfortunately, many are nowadays the “false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Mt. 7:15), trying to justify with artifice the war which is the most atrocious crime of humanity, even going to support the notion of a “holy war” which is incompatible with the teaching of Christ. Many are those who sow division and hatred not only in the world, but even in the Church, pitting one against another, spreading slander on her members, and even against her clerics and her archpastor. Woe to them, for as wise King Solomon, son of King David, teaches us, “A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke” (Prov. 13:1).

Indeed, those who sow discord and fuel violence do not serve Christ, but the devil and his cohorts. But let us not be troubled, for on this day we “feast death’s slaughter, the overthrow of Hell, the first fruits of a new eternal life”. Today Christ “destroyed the power of Hades… arose as victor… calling to the Myrrh-bearing women: Rejoice! and giving peace to his Apostles, and granted resurrection to the fallen”. May He grant us to fulfill His commandment of love and keep His peace, and to truly be sons and daughters of His Kingdom.

Christ is risen!

Antalya, Pascha 2024

+ Job of Pisidia

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