May 5, 2013
The Feast of Feasts
Now all things are filled with light;
Heaven and earth, and the nethermost regions
of the earth. Let all creation, therefore, celebrate
the arising of Christ, whereby it is established.
(Hymn of the Canon of Pascha)
To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America
Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
On this glorious Feast of Feasts filled with the brilliant light and exhilarating joy we find in the presence of our Risen Lord, I proclaim with you,
Χριστός Ἀνέστη! Christ is Risen!
As we gather to worship and give thanks to God for His abundant grace and the manifestation of His power in conquering death and restoring us to life, we affirm in hymn and words the universal impact of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. From the Canon of this Holy Feast and the services of the Paschal period, we proclaim, “Now all things are filled with light;” “Christ the Savior of the world…has filled all things with fragrance;” and “All things have been enlightened by His Resurrection.”
Through the power of our Lord’s Resurrection and the revelation of Him as the Source of true and eternal life, all of creation has been filled with the presence of God’s grace. The light of the Resurrection infuses all things, and no darkness remains. Nothing remains hidden—the consequences of sin are exposed, and the victory of the Cross is revealed.
The entire universe is also presented with the sweet fragrance of the Gospel through Jesus’ Resurrection. It is a fragrance of life. It is fresh and new, permeating creation with hope. It is a balm that turns despair into anticipation, offers peace in the midst of great turmoil and tragedy, and promises renewed strength and salvation both now and for eternity.
In the light and fragrance of the Resurrection of Christ, all things are enlightened. Truth is revealed. The way to life is shown. The Resurrection calls all people to see the power of Christ over death and to receive in faith the grace of God. He has now fulfilled His promise to redeem what He created, and all people are asked to open their spiritual eyes to the ultimate power of the Cross and Resurrection.
On this blessed of days, we can clearly see and know the impact of the Resurrection and the Feast of Holy Pascha on our lives. Through our celebration and our faith in the Risen Lord, we are filled with His divine light, and we see the truth concerning our need for redemption and salvation. The sweet fragrance of the Gospel fills us with hope and offers healing. In the completed and perfected victory of our Lord, we see God’s promises fulfilled. Every part of our being, every aspect of our lives, every relationship, every thought and word encounters the Risen Lord.
As we joyfully celebrate this Feast, may we embrace the Risen Lord and bathe in the light of the Resurrection. May we see that the power of the Resurrection has a tremendous impact on the universe, on our world, and on our lives; and may we receive the grace and life offered by Christ so that we are led out of sin and death into blessed and eternal life in His glorious presence. I wish you, your community, and your families a wonderful and beautiful Feast filled with the light and joy of Pascha.
With paternal love in the Risen Lord,
Archbishop of America
Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios for Holy Pascha
May 5, 2013