Ecumenical Patriarch: The faith of the Christian is the true and unquenchable light of the Resurrection which shines from the passion of Christ
In a solemn atmosphere, on the morning of Easter Sunday, April 19, the Vespers of the Resurrection was celebrated.
The Ecumenical Patriarch, after putting on the Hierarchical vestments in the Hearing Room of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, surrounded by the clergy of the Patriarchal Court, arrived at the Patriarchal Church, and celebrated Vespers.
His All-Holiness, from the Synthronon, read the Holy Gospel in Greek, and then it was read by clerics in various languages.
In his homily, His All-Holiness addressed a word of consolation and support to the entirety of the Church, which for the first time, all over the world, on the Holy Days of Holy Week and the Resurrection of the Lord was found far from the holy churches.
Specifically, the Ecumenical Patriarch said:
Christ is Risen!
At this time, when we sing the Agape Vespers, at this time when everything in the Creation of God is fragrant of Resurrection and myrrh, I feel again the inner need to address a word of encouragement to all of you, blessed listeners and viewers, who, “through the doors closed for fear”...of the pandemic, have Pascha, against your will, outside our churches.
Nothing and no one, no natural disaster, no pandemic, no temptation, no human or other obstacle, is able to separate us from our faith in the Risen Christ. The Christian faith is the driving force and the victorious power of this world. The faith of the Christian is the true and unquenchable light of the Resurrection which shines from the passion of Christ. The Christian faith is not a religion for seeking the Truth, it is the revealed Truth, it is Life, it is eternity.
That is why the sermon and thought of your Ecumenical Patriarch today, especially today, such a glorious day, is close to all of you, who with patience and sorrow have been missing physically this year from the sacred services. I am coming, in person, to every household, to every family, to every human being. I am coming from the Phanar, from the common house of the Pan-Orthodox, to bring you the light of Christ as it was passed on to me in wakefulness, through martyrdom, by my Predecessors. I am coming from the Great Church of Christ, to bring the church to all of you, one by one, in the Mystery of Life.
It is fatal for the Orthodox Church never to meet, but it will never die! Truly, is there an Orthodox who doubts this? Can Christ be defeated by the forces of darkness? It is impossible! On the contrary! The Church covers us, protects us, heals us, without the need for our individual and conscious awareness. The Church strengthens us, it became strong, it was established, in times of persecution and the Colosseum. Today we do not live in such conditions! Today we are simply protecting the authority of our Church from invalid theories from within! Today we confess in every direction that: the Church, and in times when everything closes, opens her heart to everyone! The power of the Church penetrates the closed doors of houses and souls and becomes consolation and Peace. The blessing of the Church is above every pandemic, because it is an epidemic of God! The Church lives and will live for centuries, without end, without a quagmire, without the smell of death.
I didn’t forget you, and how could I? At dawn, in the Paschal liturgy, before the holy Prothesis, the Ecumenical Patriarch lovingly added your bright faces to the paten, and my heart touched your pain. The Ecumenical Patriarch is the first to raise the Cross of these days with you. I understand your pain, sorrow, grief. And I want to turn them into optimism, into faith, into trust in Christ! Do we love Christ? Then we have confidence in His Church!
So, beloved children in the Lord, I am coming this first evening of the wakeful new day, into your midst, with the doors closed, and I am telling you with all my soul the words of Christ: peace be with you! Receive the Holy Spirit! See the hands of the Crucified One, the pierced side of the Mother Church and do not grow weary!