Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Gabriel, Archbishop of Montreal & Canada. 2016

30 April 2016

Paschal Epistle
To the Priests, the Clergy
& the Entire Flock of the Diocese of Canada,
Beloved of God

Brethren & sisters beloved in the Lord,

Christ is Risen!

For many centuries, throughout the history of our homeland, the day of Christ’s Resurrection, this feast of feasts, has been marked by the Russian people with special joy. In every corner of Holy Rus, from the Tsar’s palace to the poorest village hut, the Orthodox populace everywhere rejoiced in the Risen Christ. Up until this day not only the church choirs and clergy sing the celebratory hymns of Christ’s victory over death, but everyone, even those who hardly know how to sing, when in church on Pascha participate in the singing.

The joyous and all-forgiving mood, about which we hear in the catechetical homily of St. John Chrysostom at the end of the Paschal matins, is felt at least in part by both the pious and the indifferent on this night, because God’s grace works in mysterious ways on Pascha. This grace is granted to us regardless of our deeds. Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the first hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, said the same when he wrote: “This is a certain foretaste of the joys of paradise, which a Christian receives from the Lord, and which calls him to that of which we sing in the Paschal canon: “Grant that we may more perfectly partake of Thee in the unending Day of Thy Kingdom.”

Let us remember, brothers and sisters, that the Lord’s Resurrection has opened for each and every one of us the doors to eternal life. How insignificant are our quarrels, squabbles, shameful divisions into enemy camps (which unfortunately one can see in many of our parishes), vindictiveness and remembering of wrongs, compared to the blessedness that is prepared for us and waiting for us. These evil deeds cut off our entry into the Heavenly Kingdom. Many sinners, who have repented of their heavy trespasses and even crimes, as the Holy Gospel teaches us, will inherit this Kingdom, but no one who harbours in his heart spite and pride will enter it.

Let us pray to the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, that His bright Resurrection will resurrect us, according to the Holy Apostle Paul’s words, “that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6: 4).

“It is the Day of Resurrection! Let us be radiant, O people! Pascha! The Lord’s Pascha! For
Christ our God has brought us from death to life, and from earth unto heaven…”

Truly Christ is Risen!

Archbishop of Montréal & Canada
Pascha of Christ, 2016