Paschal Epistle Of Archbishop John [Maximovitch] To
the Western European And East Asian Flock And To All His Spiritual Children,
cleanse our senses and see through the gleaming, unapproachable light of
Now is everything filled-full
with light -- the heavens, the earth, and the underworld.
All is presently bathed in light: Christ is risen from
the dead. The heavens make merry, the earth rejoiceth, the
The Angels in Heaven hymn Thy
Resurrection, O Christ-Saviour. Do Thou make us, on earth, also worthy to
glorify Thee with a pure heart.
The Angelic Choir, horrified at
seeing Its Creator and Master dead, doth now, in joyous song, glorify Him
resurrected. Today doth Adam exult, and Eve rejoiceth; and with them do the
Prophets and Patriarchs sing worthy songs to the Creator of all and to our
Deliverer, Who did descend into the underworld for our sake.
The Giver of Life doth lead men
out of hell this day, and up-lifteth them to Heaven; He layeth low the powers
of the enemy and breaketh down the gates of hell by the Divine power of His
On earth, the Angels announce the
gladsome tidings to men and declare Christ's Resurrection. Attired in gleaming
white robes, the Angels ask the Myrrh-bearing Women: "Why seek ye the Living One amongst the dead? He is risen;
He is not here! Come, see the place where the Lord did
The Myrrh-bearing Women rush to
the Apostles, bearing to them the joyous news. And through the Apostles and the
Gospel is Christ's Resurrection preached unto all the
Not all the Apostles immediately
saw the risen Christ through spiritual eyes. Two disciples travelling to Emmaus
did see Jesus walking with them, but did not recognize Him till such time as He
had warmed their saddened hearts; and then were their spiritual eyes opened.
Mary Magdalene conversed with Christ in the garden, but neither recognized Him
nor was cognizant of the mystery of the Resurrection, until the voice of her
beloved Teacher touched her heart and illumined her soul, which had been given
to thinking in worldly fashion.
It was the Beloved Disciple John,
whose heart was pure and undimmed by, timidity, who before all others descried
the light of the risen Christ through spiritual eyes; and with his bodily eyes
did he behold the manifested Lord.
Scattering and dispersing the
dark and gloomy tempest of sin, Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shone forth,
gleaming not in the hearts and souls of the Apostles only, but in those of all
who draw near to Him with faith, salvation seeking.
"Blessed are those who have
not seen and have believed," Christ sayeth; "blessed are those who
have perceived Me not with bodily eyes, but with the eyes of the heart."
It was with his spiritual eyes
that Archdeacon Stephan, the Proto-martyr, saw the heavens opened and the Lord
Jesus at the right hand of God the Father. It was with eyes of faith that the
risen Lord was beheld by Great-martyr George the Trophy-bearer and by all the
other martyrs who laid down their earthly lives for Christ, in order that they
might receive from Him life eternal. It was upon Him that podvizhniki
["athletes"-of-the-spirit] did fix their spiritual gaze; despising
earthly pleasures, they were crowned in the heavens with glory unfading.
But neither the scribes nor the
pharisees, His enemies, saw the resurrected Christ. Nor did the tormentors of
the martyrs see Him, strengthening the martyrs. Neither did, nor do, all those
whose spiritual gaze is dimmed by unbelief, whose heart is befouled with sins
and vices, whose will is directed only toward the earthly, ever see the light
of the glory of the risen Christ.
Let us cleanse our hearts from
all filth and foulness, and our spiritual eyes will be enlightened.
The light of Christ's
Resurrection will flood and fill our souls, in like manner as the Church of the
Resurrection, yearly, throughout the centuries, on Great Saturday, is illumined
with light when the Orthodox - and only the Orthodox Patriarch receives the
Let us lift up our hearts! Let us
forsake everything worldly; let us rejoice in this day and be exceeding glad!
Christ is risen
from the dead, having trampled death by death.
Christ is risen!
the Pascha of Christ, 1956, Paris
English by G. Spruksts from the Russian text appearing in "Pravoslavnaya
Rus'" ("Orthodox Rus'"), No. 7, 1996, p.5. English-language translations copyright
(c) 1998 by The St. Stefan Of Perm' Guild; The Russian
Cultural Heritage Society; and the Translator. All rights reserved.