To the Most Honored Pastors and the Flock
Beloved of God
CHRIST IS RISEN!
Brethren and sisters beloved in Christ! Once again the Lord has counted us worthy of the great grace of the joy of Pascha, which visits us in such abundance, especially when we cleanse our souls for it. Throughout all the preparatory days of the holy Forty-day Fast we have labored in fasting and prayer according to our strength, preparing ourselves for this great day. Our entire life should be a holy Lent, ending with our death in Christ and our resurrection in the everlasting life of blessedness with our Lord Jesus Christ, the Vanquisher of death and sin. That we might understand the meaning of all existence, it has pleased the Lord to confine the life of His Church within an annual cycle of liturgical services, in which everything moves towards Pascha as the ultimate meaning and completion of all the Sacred Scriptures, the fulfillment of all the prophecies, the real reason and objective of the Incarnation of the Son of God. And the Lord leads us through this annual school of piety, each time patiently expecting from every one of us repentance, spiritual rebirth, renewal in the Holy Spirit.
For the sake of His Church, in which alone the souls of men are saved, the Lord created time, commanded the earth to turn on its axis and to make its revolution around the sun. In all of these movements amid the heavenly luminaries, we see a pledge of the saving paschalion, which remains in force for us until the Lord, in His pre-eternal counsel, will bring an end to all time, to the world and the universe.
Such is the exalted spiritual meaning of the creation of the world. Wondrous are Thy works, O Lord! Our mind is caught up in ecstasy when contemplating the infinite reaches of the universe and when faced with the ten thousands upon ten thousands of heavenly lights. Yet it is not them that the Lord Almighty seeks. "My son, give me thy heart," says the Lord, seeking, in the midst of all this grandiose cosmos the little heart of man, in which He desires to dwell, making it a temple for Himself, if it is pure.
Christ has truly risen, for in our hearts we all feel the boundless love of God for us, and through this love we look upon the whole world and see the sun dancing and ail things making merry and blessed with peace. Amen.
Metropolitan Vitaly Chief Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox
Church Outside Russia
Let the Heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad, for the Lord has done a mighty act with His arm. He has trampled death by death and become the First-born of the dead, He has delivered us from the depths of hell, and has granted the world His great mercy.[OA/_private/oabot.htm]