Encyclical for the all-glorious Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ

The Anchor of our Hope

Protocol No. 1188

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, children in the risen Lord:

Our Holy Orthodox Church, on this radiant day of the Holy Resurrection, "adorned by divine glory," with sacred fervor invites and exhorts Her illumined children to partake of "the new fruit of the vine":

"Come, let us partake of the new fruit of the vine, of the divine gladness, on this auspicious day of the Resurrection, of the Kingdom of Christ, extolling Him as God unto the ages." (1)

This remarkable hymn brings to mind the basic truth, that the Resurrection of our Savior has always been bound up with the sacred Mystery of the Divine Eucharist. Every celebration of the Liturgy is Pascha; every time that we partake of the all-pure Mysteries, we celebrate Pascha (2); for, Christ is the true and soul-endowed Pascha.

Hence, the Holy Fathers tell us, "the true Pascha of Christians is Christ communed in the Mysteries." (3)

The Mystical Supper of the Divine Liturgy is an icon and prefiguration of the Great Supper (4) in the Kingdom of the Heavens. Here we have a foretaste of our future perfect communion and union with our Savior, Christ, "in the Kingdom of His Father." (5) Here we drink the new beverage, the Blood of the Lamb, Which renews and delivers us from all that is old and corruptible in our nature.

In the Divine Liturgy, and through the all-pure Mysteries, we henceforth partake of "the festal celebration and the Church of the firstborn" (6), of the eternal Pascha of the future and never-ending age, when all will be "new" (7)--renewed in the glory of the Holy Trinity--, and we will live the fullness of the promised mystery:

"On that day ye will know that I am in My Father and ye are in Me and I am in you." (8)

* * *

Children in the Lord:

This is the hope of our future glorified state, of which we already possess a "guarantee." (9) This eternal relationship and union with Christ, which we already experience within the Holy Orthodox Church, prompts us to chant, in gratitude and enthusiasm:

"Oh divine, Oh beloved, Oh sweetest voice of Thine; for Thou hast unfeignedly promised to be with us to the conclusion of the age, Oh Christ, and possessing this anchor of hope, we the faithful rejoice." (10)

This constant expectation and presence of our Lord in His Orthodox Church constitutes the surest anchor of the hope of Christians. When the waves of temptations, sorrows, and tribulations rise up on the sea of life and threaten us, Christ commands them and they are calmed, as He bolsters us, saying:

"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." (11)

If we cleanse our hearts with constant repentance; if we enthrone our Saviour, Christ, in our hearts by frequent communion; if we retain divine Grace in our hearts by continuous watchfulness, prayer, and attentiveness--then, we will perceive the living presence of our living Lord, constantly beholding Him.

St. Gregory Palamas, Archbishop of Thessaloniki, assures us that this gladsome vision of our Savior is able to accord us great blessings:

"For this vision is the elimination of every sin, the obliteration of every evil passion, alienation from every wickedness; this vision enables us to effect every virtue, to give birth to purity and passionlessness, and to acquire life eternal and the never-ending kingdom." (12)

* * *

Beloved children in Christ:

Let us take every care, that, with the help of the ever-blessed Theotokos and all of the Saints, our lives might bear the mark of the Resurrection; that the life of Christ might be our own life; that His Resurrection might become our own personal resurrection, so that the Holy Spirit might dwell within us (1). For only then will be rise up, at the Second Coming. "to the resurrection of life" (14) and be found worthy to partake of "the Supper of the Marriage of the Lamb" (15), to Whom is due glory, honor, and worship, with the Father and the Holy Spirit unto the ages. Amen!

Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
Holy Pascha of the year of salvation 2000.

Your intercessor before the risen Lord,
+ Metropolitan Cyprian of Oropos and Fili,
President of the Holy Synod in Resistance

1) Canon of Holy Pascha, Ode VIII, troparion 1.
2) St. John Chrysostomos, _PG_, 48, 867.
3) St. Nicodemos the Hagiorite, Heortodromion..., p. 446 (n.).
4) See St. Luke 14: 15-24.
5) St. Matthew 26:29.
6) Hebrews 12: 23.
7) See Revelations 3:12; 5:9; 21:1, 5.
8) St. John 14: 20.
9) See Romans 8:23; II Corinthians 5: 5.
10) Canon of Holy Pascha, Ode IX, troparion 1.
11) St. Matthew 28:20.
12) St. Gregory Palamas, _PG_, 151, 304B.
13) See Romans 8:11.
14) St. John 5:29.
15) Revelations 19: 9.

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