11:00 PM

To the clergy and the entire beloved flock of the Canadian Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad


Honorable fathers, beloved in the Lord brothers and sisters!

“Now all things are filled with light, heaven and earth, and the lower regions! Let all creation therefore celebrate the arising of Christ, for in Him it is made firm,” – exclaims the Holy Church on this Great day of the Glory of the Lord.

The Resurrection of Christ opened before us the gates of eternity. It was said in the pious poetic tradition of our fathers, who dwelt in the land of Holy Russia, that from the first day of the Bright Resurrection of Christ, the gates of heaven open and stay open until the last day of the Bright Week. More than that, even the torments of hell cease and quiet down, and sinners are given rest even until Pentecost.

This shows with what grace-filled spiritual uplifting the Russian people greeted the Feast of feasts – the Pascha of Christ. Do we follow their example? Are we enveloped with the joyous all-forgiving state of mind, as it is spoken of in the homily of St. John Chrysostom, which is read at the Paschal matins? Yet, this Paschal feeling is the gift of a special mystical grace, which the faithful receive from the Lord, as a certain foretaste of the heavenly joy, the joy of the Unwaning Light. Compared to this joy, how insignificant and pitiful must be our quarrels and offenses, our divisions into conflicting groups, our sinful remembrance of wrongs, which, according to the words of the Most Blessed Metropolitan Anthony, founder of our Russian Church Abroad, “Entrance into the Heavenly Kingdom is closed to us.”

In the last year, we became witnesses of the most cruel raging of the elements: destructive floods, dreadful frequent earthquakes, which, in a blinking of an eye, destroy, it appears, the most perfect human achievements. This reminds us of the fact that all of us, as a Russian saying says, walk under God, and none knows when the Lord will call us, and all of this is the fulfillment of the gospel words of the Savior about the signs of the times.

Therefore, Pascha – this type of the future, eternal Pascha – reminds us of the necessity of always being attentive to our salvation, so that we, living here on earth, would never forget all the needy with our mercy, whoever these needy may be, in the times when they are met with sorrow. Then, we also will be vouchsafed an opportunity to fulfill the commandments of Christ by good works and pious life, and to be partakers of the eternal Paschal joy in the Risen Lord.

Let us remember, beloved brothers and sisters, that “Today – on this very day – a sacred Pascha has appeared unto us, a Pascha new and holy, a Pascha mystical, a Pascha all-honorable” and let us repeat in our hearts the tender and triumphant words of the Apostle Paul: “My brethren, rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice… the Lord is near… and the peace of God, which is beyond all understanding, will keep your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:4-7).

Truly Christ Is Risen!

Bishop of Montreal & Canada

Pascha of Christ, 2011