Christ is Risen!

In the name of the Synod of Bishops of the Rus-sian Orthodox Autonomous Church, I greet you, our dearly beloved in the Lord Pastors, Right Honorable Monastics and God-loving flock, with spiritual joy, on this universal and joyous feast of the radiant Resurrection of Christ.

Christ is Risen!

May the Risen Lord abide with us forever, and may He ever provide us with all that is necessary for our salvation.

We offer up our most ardent prayers to Christ, the Giver of Life, Who is now ascended from the tomb, that we might be able to withstand all of the evil and violence, oppression and persecutions, sufferings and death, which face us.

We place our hopes and expectations on the risen Christ, that He might vouchsafe unto us the spirit of patience, the spirit of humility and love for our enemies, but not for the enemies of His Church, Which is the entryway to the kingdom of God, and the gateway to the kingdom of glory and eternal life.

This year, the holy feast of Pascha comes at a time when the forces of evil have been let loose upon the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, which over the course of 80 years had been the ves-sel bearing the grace of untainted Orthodoxy; upon that Church, which those languishing and suffering in Holy Russia used to compare to the Woman who had fled from the power of the dragon into the desert of heterodoxy in order to keep unsoiled the purity of her wedding garments, the wedding garments of the Church, the Bride of Christ, there, upon the shifting sands of the unorthodox world. Now these forces of evil have stretched forth their treacher-ous hands to grab at the throat of the Orthodox Church Abroad in order to choke Her, and thereby exact vengeance for the labors of those of her hierarchs who had laid down their lives for the sake of spreading true Orthodoxy.

Together with the ineffable joy which accompanies the holy feast of Pascha, we must also be mindful of those not too far distant days in which we foresee great temptations for our faith, inasmuch as “those who wish to live in piety must needs be persecuted,” as the holy Apostle Paul teaches us. This is the bearing of our cross, which leads to salvation. If the Lord gives us a cross, He also gives us the strength to bear it, for no one comes down from the cross on his own, but he is rather taken down from it by others. “In your patience possess ye your souls…watch and pray,” and the Risen Christ grants us salvation, for “he who is patient to the end will be saved.”

“On this chosen and holy day,” may the risen Christ strengthen the hearts of those Orthodox Christians who stand firmly upon the path of Orthodoxy, confessing the truth, preaching the Kingdom of God, and increasing the talents they have been given for the coming eternal life.

May the light of Christ’s resurrection brighten our hearts and may our eyes and ears be open unto the understanding of the “good and perfect” saving providence of God, which leads to our eternal salvation “in the evening-less day of the kingdom of Christ,” in the bosom of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Church of the holy New Martyrs and Confessors.

Truly He is Risen!

With much love,

Metropolitan of Suzdal and Vladimir

Pascha 2007