Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople
Christ is Risen!
Filled with joy was the mouth of the Myrrh-Bearing women as they said, "The Lord is Risen!"
With this same great joy, we also repeat over and over again this year the proclamation of the most important event in the history of mankind and in the life of every person: "Christ is Risen." This event has become a form of salutation, for the pronouncement thereof is a matter of deepest joy. It is not, like most salutations, a mere wish. It is an actual event, it is a reality. Christ is risen and death is abolished. Death is abolished, for Christ resurrects with Himself all the faithful who, inasmuch as they believe in Him, do not taste death, but pass from death unto life.
Modern man, being unable by his own power to face the inevitable reality of death, has repressed this fact into the depths of his subconscious. He does everything he can to prolong the natural life of his body; and when the inescapable end arrives, he makes cosmetic improvements to the situation, he conceals the manifestations of death, he hides what happened, so that those who are left may continue with their natural life as if the spectre of death did not threaten it.
But the natural cessation of the bodily existence of humanity is unavoidable, and futile is the effort of modern man to ignore this reality.
We as faithful Christians face the fear of death, not by refusing to think about or deal with it, but rather through our faith in the Resurrection of Christ, which entails also the expectation of our own resurrection. Having risen from the dead, Christ became the First-born of the dead, and He is ready to bestow resurrection, the passage from death to life, unto every person who entrusts his life to Him. These are the gladsome tidings which we proclaim to the whole world, crying out, "Christ is Risen!"
The joy of the resurrection and of the abolition of death inundates our hearts. We do not deem it sufficient simply to wish for life for our fellow human beings. Christ came to earth, Christ became incarnate, Christ was crucified and resurrected so that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. Therefore, we do not wish simply for resurrection. We reassure all that Christ is Risen and death is abolished. We invite all to the joy of eternal life, which begins in the present life. For our anticipation of the resurrection is not merely a hope: it is a reality inherent in the Resurrection of Christ. In this sense, our wish is also a reality, and this reality replaces the wish.
Christ is Risen! And every person is called to rise together with Him. Christ is Risen! And every person has the potential to rise together with Him. Christ is Risen! And in effect every person has already risen together with Him.
Two preconditions are required for our participation in Christ's Resurrection: faith and love for Him, and all that these entail.
But today we celebrate the Resurrection, we proclaim the fact, and we rejoice in saying "The Lord is Risen."
This is not a fiction, it is not a lie. It is a truth confessed by the myriads of Saints who loved Christ and fully trusted Him, and who are now alive with Him and appear unto many.
The Resurrection, thanks to Christ, is a reality, and it is offered unto all.
Christ is risen from the dead, by death destroying death, and to those in the tombs and to those not yet in the tombs bestowing life.
Through His grace and mercy may we all participate in His Resurrection and His life. So may it be.
Holy Pascha 2000
+ Patriarch of Constantinople
Fervent intercessor for all
before the Christ the Risen One