2016 Paschal Encyclical
Holy Pascha, 2016
“Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ, let us worship…”
The proclamation of the triumph of our Lord, the Holy Lord Jesus risen from the dead, is a call to receive the Light of the World, and a call to worship. In our churches this Pascha, we will light our Paschal candles and continually sing aloud of the victory over death and darkness, by “death trampling down death.” It is an exciting moment, the transformation of the dark church into a bright and jubilant celebration. There is excitement and we lift up our voices, having received the light from the Unwaning and eternal Light…
When the service comes to an end, we have the tradition of bringing the Paschal candle lit to our homes, a beautiful custom. Yet this is but a sign or symbol of the call for us to be aflame with zeal in the Holy Spirit, to cast the Light of the Lord throughout our homes among family and friends, and indeed throughout our neighborhoods, cities, our nation and our world. After all, “worship” is not simply adoration and acknowledgement, but our “rational worship” (Λογική Λατρεία) is to be a continual service to the world. This is the meaning of worship in the truest sense: to serve. Therefore, we must pass the Light on to others, not by a candle but by our words, our deeds, our every action. And in this manner we not only receive the Light, but we serve as lanterns to dispel the darkness: in our personal lives marked by sin and struggle, in our society marked by danger and violence, in our world marked still by the senseless suffering inflicted on our sisters and brothers by those who resist and oppose the Light.
This Pascha, let us be resolved to reconcile our conflicts, let us renew and increase our charitable acts of kindness to strangers and those in need, let us pray for the peace of the world and “embrace one another, forgiving all things in the Resurrection.” In this way we shall be shining beacons, attracting those of good will, and changing those of ill will for the better. If we truly worship, if we are indeed Orthodox, we will not permit the darkness to invade and overtake the Light with which we have been gifted.
Reaching out to embrace all the faithful, with the joy of the Unwaning Light of our Lord, we greet all with the triumphant hymn and the Good News: Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
With Paternal Blessings this Pascha,
Metropolitan IAKOVOS of Chicago