Great and Holy Pascha

4 April 2021

Christ is Risen!
He is risen indeed!

This resurrection cry is the subject of my good wishes to my friends, to whom I attribute the beautiful title of “sons and daughters of the Resurrection.”

We are sons and daughters of the Resurrection, although in the reality of our everyday life, we all carry all sorts of crosses, as do our countries, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Holy Land, Palestine… We all bear the cross of illnesses, Coronavirus, handicaps, prison, loss of parents, vagrancy, emigration, deportation, hunger, suffering, homelessness and hopelessness.

Despite that, we are children of the Resurrection, of hope and joy. We believe in the Resurrection and in the Salvation of Jesus Christ, risen from the dead!

Psalm 73: 12 (LXX) makes allusion to this real, true spirituality, “But God is our King of old; he has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.” I like to link the meaning of this verse with the Holy Land, Jerusalem and the Church of the Resurrection, where Jesus wrought his saving work “for us and for our salvation,” as we state in the creed.

This is what we see when we look at the cross: Jesus, the tree of life (like the tree in paradise), a cave under the cross, the symbol of all our sufferings, the skull of Adam, who transgressed the law of the Lord, whence the name Golgotha, the place of the skull.

That symbolises a theological reality: Jerusalem is the centre of the world; Paradise is at the centre of Jerusalem. Sin is in the world, the human heart and in our life, yet salvation is still at the centre of the world and of our life, in Jerusalem and in the life of every person.

This salvation is there for everyone, for every creature, for every man and woman. And it is to this salvation that the Resurrection is calling us. And we shall always be sons and daughters of the Resurrection!

Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Gregorios III

Patriarch Emeritus of Antioch and All the East,
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
For the Melkite Greek Catholic Church


Teachings of Christ

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)

Saints and Martyrs

Adorned with the blood of Your Martyrs throughout the world, * as with purple and fine linen, * Your Church cries out to You through them: * "Send down Your compassions upon Your people. * Grant peace to Your commonwealth and great mercy to our souls." (Troparion - Tone 4)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.

As the first-fruits of nature to the Planter of Creation, * the whole world offers to You, O Lord, the God-bearing martyrs. * Through their prayers and the intercession of the Mother of God * preserve Your commonwealth, the Church, in profound peace, O Most Merciful One. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Pentecost

Blessed are You, O Christ our God, * Who has shown the fishermen to be all wise, * by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, * and through them You have caught the whole world in Your net. * O Lover of Mankind, glory to You. (Troparion - Tone 8)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.

When the Most High descended, confusing tongues, * He divided the nations; * but when He distributed the tongues of fire, * He called all to unity; * and, with one voice, * we glorify the Most Holy Spirit. (Kontakion - Tone 8)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the labor of repentance, contrition and humility -- these humble the proud mind.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast