Beloved brother Hierarchs, Reverend Clergy, God-fearing Monastics, and all my Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ our True God:
Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
When Christ had risen from the dead on the third day and had shown Himself alive to His disciples, He ascended into heaven. He remained immortal and bestowed on us, with complete assurance, resurrection, immortality and truly blessed, eternal, incorruptible life in heaven. By means of the one death and resurrection of His flesh, He healed our twofold death and freed us from the double captivity of soul and body. (St. Gregory Palamas, “On Holy and Great Saturday”)
The feast of Christ’s glorious resurrection is now finally here, and we experience the greatest of joy possible for human persons not only because the Founder of our faith has risen from the dead, but because of what the resurrection means in terms of His incarnation. Because He is man, He was able to die. And because He is God, He rises from the dead.
But our joy comes not only from a contemplation of the mystery of His identity as the God-man, but from what the death and resurrection of the God-man mean for us and do for us who are dying not only physically but also spiritually. Because He is a man rising from the dead, if we partake of His resurrection, we also will finally overcome the death of the body. And because His resurrection is from the power of His divinity, the spiritual death that we suffer is also trampled down by the conquering Christ.
Thus, as St. Gregory Palamas says, “By means of the one death and resurrection of His flesh, He healed our twofold death and freed us from the double captivity of soul and body.” How great is the mystery of the death and rising of the Son of God Who is the Son of Man!
Yours in the Risen Christ,
Rt. Rev. Bishop THOMAS (Joseph)
Auxiliary Bishop, Diocese of Charleston, Oakland, and the Mid-Atlantic