Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Christ is Risen! Christos Voskrese!
We praise you, O Christ, and glorify Your Resurrection. You were born from a virgin, but remained in union with Father. You suffered as man, enduring the Cross voluntarily.But you rose from the tomb, coming forth as from a radiant chamber. You died a true death, descending into hades. But as God You shattered the bonds of death, granting life to the world. Lord, glory to You!
– From the Resurrection Hymn.
Today Orthodox Christians throughout the world are celebrating and proclaiming that Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death and upon those in the tombs bestowing life. This day I greet you one and all from our Church, where I have, with God’s help, proclaimed Christ’s Resurrection before our Holy Altar entreating the Resurrected Lord to bless all of you, your families, friends and the whole world.
This indeed has been a most trying Great Lenten period with our isolation and distancing, but I feel it afforded us much needed time to reconnect with our Lord in silence and peace, something we all needed in our hectic lives. Today, however, we have arrived at the greatest gift Almighty God could freely give to us His creation, the gift of abundant life with Him! All creation rejoices today for evil has been overthrown and life reigns.
I know for myself and I’m sure for you that this Pascha (Easter) brings great joy and happiness to our hearts. We all needed to hear that God has the final Word over this world and that the promises He made through his voluntary suffering and death now and forever assure us that we have nothing to fear, for God is with us!
Today as I read the Holy Gospel from St. John it becomes so much more meaningful after so many weeks of separation. Likewise, as I read the Sermon of St. John Chrysostom, tears of great joy came over me because I felt assured that we will be together soon, worshipping, praying and proclaiming our love for God within the Church, we built together for the glory of God.
As I sang Christ is Risen, I was not alone for all of our beloved departed family and friends joined me with the choir of Angel’s filling our Church with their voices. You see, just as we pray and remember our fathers and mothers, they have also have been praying for us here on earth. What greater joy to know that they knowing of our travail here were praying from above.
As I conclude my words I want you to know that I said the prayers for the blessing of your Paschal foods so that we all may enjoy, even in our limited way, the fulness of the Risen Christ’s blessing upon all of you and our families!
May the Risen Lord bless you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit Amen!
Christ is Risen!
Father John Perich