Beloved in the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ children of our Holy Church,
Abiding in the fullness of the Paschal joy, experiencing the astonishment together with the Myrrh-bearing Women in front of the Saviour’s defeat over death, testified by the angel and the empty tomb, with archpastoral love we greet all of you with the most joyful of all the greetings: CHRIST IS RISEN!
“Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice! Christ is risen, and life is liberated! Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ, having risen from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (from The Paschal Homily by St. John Chrysostom). The hell, corruption and death have lost their power over man, because already Christ is the One Who has “authority over all flesh”, to give all who believe in Him “eternal life” (John 17:2). Because that is why He came: so that we may have life, and have it in abundance (see John 10:10).
In the divine-human personality of Lord Jesus Christ have been fulfilled all the ancient prophecies about the reconciliation of the earth and the heaven; in Him has been revealed “the mystery which had been hidden in God for so long” (Eph. 3:9), and “grace… to rule through righteousness to eternal life” (Rom. 5:21). In Him, “the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24), God restored man in that dignity of his, in which He had seen him as early as in His pre-eternal creative economy plan and for which He had called him to life at the dawn of the creation – the greatest dignity of the crown of this creation, called for to “have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the flying creatures of heaven and over the cattle (and all the wild animals) and all the earth and over all the reptiles that creep on the earth” (Gen. 1:26); because the man is the only one of all the creatures that is created by God according to His image and because he is called for likening himself to God and His divine perfection (see Matt. 5:48).
Dwelling in this greatest dignity, we, the righteous to Christ confessors of His name before the world, also know best that greatest responsibility, which accompanies this human dignity: a responsibility that the man has first to himself as a temple and dwelling of the Holy Spirit, and then to his surrounding environment, the whole creation and all the creatures, about which we are told that “waits with eager expectation for the revelation of God’s children” (Rom. 8:19). So explicit is the testimony of God’s Revelation about how closely the future of our world is and of all the creation is intertwined with the life, with the decisions the actions of man.
That is why it is so disturbing that even today, two millennia after the Resurrection of Christ and all the other salvific for men events from the Holy Bible, the world we are living in continues to be torn by injustice and contradictions, by wars and all sorts of hatred and violence of man to man; that although redeemed by God, the world we are living in continues to be sick, a fallen in passions and sins world, suffering due to the human sloth in the great God-human act of salvation – a world, in which the eternal evangelic values and heavenly treasures, which Christ advises us to collect, are more and more shifted by unheard of selfishness and egocentricity, by a passion of possessing and consumerism, which already threaten not only our moral foundations, but also the very life on earth which we inhabit. Therefore, we should not be surprised that it is more and more difficult today for the mankind to live in peace both with itself and with the surrounding nature. We should not be surprised by the answers which it receives from nature due to its increasingly growing greed and passionate insatiability, due to its increasingly explicit refusal from its calling to be a good and wise householder of the world entrusted to it by God.
It is the present day that is particularly appropriate for reflecting about all this: the day of the Resurrection of Christ. A day, on which life is triumphant, absolutely defeating the evil, hell and death. A day, on which we become witnesses of the accomplishment of the greatest harmony between heaven and earth, between the divine and the created, between God and man. A day, on which God’s holy will for the world and for each of us is declared with all the possible definiteness, because “Christ has been raised from the dead! He did become the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20); because on this day for each of us and for all the mankind is shown a way to salvation and eternal life.
Let us not turn aside to the right hand not to the left, but to follow it closely, as with every hesitation to verify our thoughts and actions with what is left to us by our Lord in His holy Gospel, from where spring the leading principles, the eternal truths and all the intransient values and principles of our Christian life and our Christian attitude to the world and to all around us.
On the occasion of the Resurrection of Christ, we are greeting all faithful children of our Orthodox Church – those in our Motherland and those far away from it!
May to all of us be the grace, peace and love from our Lord Jesus Christ Who has risen from the dead and the communion in the Holy Spirit!
CHRIST IS RISEN!
HEAD OF THE HOLY SYNOD
PATRIARCH OF BULGARIA
METROPOLITAN OF SOFIA
MEMBERS OF THE HOLY SYNOD:
† METROPOLITAN IOANIKIY OF SLIVEN
† METROPOLITAN YOSIF OF USA, CANADA AND AUSTRALIA
† METROPOLITAN GRIGORIY OF VELIKO TARNOVO
† METROPOLITAN IGNATIY OF PLEVEN
† METROPOLITAN GAVRIIL OF LOVECH
† METROPOLITAN NIKOLAY OF PLOVDIV
† METROPOLITAN ANTONIY OF WESTERN AND CENTRAL EUROPE
† METROPOLITAN YOAN OF VARNA AND VELICKY PRESLAV
† METROPOLITAN SERAPHIM OF NEVROKOP
† METROPOLITAN NAUM OF ROUSSE
† METROPOLITAN CYPRIAN OF STARA ZAGORA
† METROPOLITAN GRIGORIY OF VRATSA
† METROPOLITAN DANIIL OF VIDIN
† METROPOLITAN YAKOV OF DOROSTOL