His Grace, Bishop Gabriel’s Paschal epistle

08:20 AM

To the clergy and the God-loving flock of the Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia


Reverend fathers, brothers and sisters beloved in the Lord!

It is the day of resurrection! Let us be illumined, O ye people! Pascha, the Lord’s Pascha! Do these words of the solemn and joyous Festive chants express our inner state today, or do we, even on this Great day of the Glory of the Lord, remain in captivity of the daily cares? We hope that is not the case, may it not be so.

A Christian is not a simple reflection of his outward life, – says the Most Blessed Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the founder and first head of the Russian Church Abroad, – in him there must be and is another, inner life, lit by the memory of Christ, proceeding from the tomb as Victor, Christ, Who said to the myrrh bearing women: rejoice!

It often happens that our earthly life is not very sweet, but it is even more bitter for those, to whom the joyous glorification of Christ is not accessible; for those, who are separated from the Light of the Resurrection of Christ by the unavoidable burdens of their earthly life.

Apostle Paul wrote, addressing the ancient Christians: “Who shall separate us from the love of God, shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Romans 8:35). Such was the lot of the Christians of the first centuries, and in our times, the lot of the holy New Martyrs of Russia. However, do we have to endure anything similar to that? If on account of our weakness we cannot be like Saint Seraphim of Sarov, who received from the Lord the abiding Paschal joy, so that every day of the year he greeted his visitors with the words: “My joy, Christ is risen!” Yet, beloved brothers and sisters, at least in these days of the Pascha of Christ, let us set aside our daily cares.

Today together we celebrate the “death of death, the destruction of Hades, the beginning of another life eternal”. We, according to the words of Most Blessed Metropolitan Anthony, are called to be the sons of resurrection, and in that is the essence of our hope. Hence, let us also repeat the wondrous words of the Psalmist, ones that are many times today chanted in the Church of Christ: “This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 117:24).

Truly Christ is Risen!

Bishop of Montreal and Canada
Pascha of Christ, 2010