The Paschal Greeting

The Paschal GREETING

of His Grace Iov, Bishop of Kashira,

Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada

Dear fathers, brothers and sisters!

Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen!

I cordially congratulate you with the greatest and the most glorious of all feasts, with the beginning of the New Life, with the spiritual Spring, with the triumph and victory over death — with the Holy New Testament Easter – the Resurrection of Our Lord, Jesus Christ:

Х ристос Воскресе! Χριστὸς ἀνέστη! Christus resurrexit! Christ is Risen! Le Christ est ressuscité!

On Earth there is no greater feast than Holy Easter – the Resurrection of Christ. Jesus, defeating death — which none of the people could had ever defeated before His Resurrection — proved that in Bethlehem, on the earth and among simple people, indeed was born God!

By His Resurrection, Christ – simultaneously God and man — solved the main problem of our life — the problem of death. By His Resurrection Jesus introduced into human nature a medicine that procures blissful immortality through having given back to people what they had lost by the Fall. After the Resurrection of Christ, mankind had received the ability to once again become immortal and blissful, provided that nowhere nor never Our Savior be forgotten…

In the distant year 1891 the Russian speech of the immigrants, who had come here from the Western lands of Rus’, rang for the first time in the desolate regions of Western Canada. In those early years the immigrants did not yet have here neither beautiful temples with the bell ringing, nor multiple priests in stunning vestments. Nevertheless, the Canadian prairies were surprised to see how these immigrants annually celebrated the Resurrection of Christ, traditionally making special cakes (“paski”, “kulichi”) and singing at Easter time special hymns and prayers, accordingly. 120 years ago, in 1897, near Edmonton, under the high and sunny Canadian sky, the first Orthodox Divine Liturgy was performed. Four years later the construction of the first Orthodox Church in honor of the Holy Trinity at the Wostok settlement was completed and its consecration was performed by the future Patriarch of All Russia — St. Tikhon (Belavin) himself. Thus the first Orthodox Rusin community was born on the Canadian prairies. This first parish, as spiritual seed, having overcoming enormous difficulties, had gradually grown up in this country into a big branch of the Russian Orthodox Church, with thousands of believers and hundreds of parishes throughout its vast territories. Thanks to the Gospel faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Canadian country has spiritually invigorated and transformed, becoming an attractive home for new waves of immigration.

In the hymns of the Church Easter Service the Pascha of Our Lord is often called “red”, which in Old Slavic/Russian means “beautiful”. But after 1917, Pascha in the Russian land became for many decades literally “red” from the blood, shed for Christ by our Holy New Martyrs. It is very sad to state that a hundred years ago which in the Old Imperial Russia a certain number of its multimillion population could not dream of anything else, but improving their earthly life… As always happens in such cases, they began and completed the construction of their “new life” poorly. And this was because the new authorities wanted to build this so called “new” life — like the ancient Tower of Babel — without God! All over Russia the faithful in Christ, the clergy of our Church — from church readers, choir singers and deacons to priests and bishops — at that terrible time became true spiritual heroes…A strong faith in the Resurrection of Christ gave them the strength to preserve the true Orthodoxy in Russia and today to reaffirm it throughout the world, including our Canada… Today we should remember that a quiet and happy life in any country is possible only when the Commandments of God are fulfilled, and our resurrection and revival is always the result of our repentance and the purification of our personal sins.

On this luminous night we exclaim the prophetic words of King David: “Let God arise and His enemies be scattered!” May God resurrect and renew life and love in our hearts! May sin, lies, enmity, anger, strife and all kinds of division in our life and throughout the world disappear! Let the Resurrection of Christ be the beginning of our true new life and the immortality of every Christian!

On this festive day, when the bright joy of the Risen Savior overflows our souls and hearts, I wish you all good health, long life, success in your work, zeal in prayers and many acts of Christian kindness!

Воистину Воскресе! Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! Vere Resurrexit! Indeed He is Risen! En effet, Il est ressuscité!

With Paschal greetings and the archpastoral blessing,

Iov (Job), Bishop of Kashirа,

Administrator of the Patriarchal Parishes in Canada

Great and Holy Pascha, 2017. Edmonton