Paschal Epistle of His Eminence Gabriel, Archbishop of Montreal & Canada. 2017

14 April 2017

Paschal Epistle
To the clergy and the entire God-preserved flock of the Canadian Diocese

Beloved brothers and sisters,
Christ is Risen!

With heartfelt joy I greet all of you with the bright feast of feasts – the Resurrection of Christ.

St. John Chrysostom, in his homily which is read at the end of Paschal matins, says: “Enjoy ye all the feast of faith… let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave.”

These wonderful words are said in God’s churches on the day of Christ’s resurrection, because, as Metropolitan Anthony (Khrapovitsky), the abbot of the Russian Church Outside of Russia, said, “On this day God is with us and we are with God, not like condemned slaves, but like Christ’s brothers.”

This union with the risen Christ is the fountainhead of Paschal joy, which is given to each of us when the Church celebrates victory over death, “for the Savior’s death has set us free” (St. John Chrysostom). This joy and grace come down to us on the night of Pascha and stay with us throughout the forty day celebration of the Lord’s Resurrection. All are called to the feast of the unconquerable triumph: “You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast” (St. John Chrysostom).

Let us not forget, beloved brothers and sisters, that this joy and grace are a foretaste of the eternal blessedness that awaits us in the Heavenly Kingdom. Metropolitan Anthony said, “If only we thought more on the inevitability of our own death and resurrection, how quickly would our remaining anger melt away. Paschal joy is a foretaste of eternal heavenly joy and he who loses the first is prone to losing the second.”

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian tragedy of 1917. The main reason for this tragedy is the yearning of deceived people for earthly instead of heavenly gifts. As a consequences

people received neither earthly nor heavenly good things. We hope that in these days the Russian people will come to comprehend the tragedies of the past and that the new generation will be raised in the spirit of faith and piety of our ancestors, so that our homeland returns to the God-ordained order of the past, which protected Orthodoxy Russia for many centuries.

“Pascha! Let us embrace one another. Let us say: Brethren, even to them that hate us, let us forgive all things on the Resurrection! O Pascha, Ransom from sorrow!”

Truly He is Risen!

Gabriel Archbishop of Montreal and Canada
Pascha, 2017