Vl. Agafangel Paschal Epistle
Metropolitan Agafangel: Paschal Message 2018
His Eminence Metropolitan Agafangel
First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia
Christ is Risen!
The closer it comes to the end of the world, and the further we are from the time of the birth of Christ, the more difficult life becomes for conscientious people. Today, everywhere - there is injustice, open deception, and unprecedented spiritual impoverishment; the last traces of former Christian culture are destroyed within public morality, and the opposite is actively planted. The soulless desert- like a flood- has risen up towards the human soul. Even from the daring- to- call- themselves- zealots of Orthodoxy-- more and more insane statements are pronounced, such as: that church rules, canons and traditions have supposedly become a thing of the past, and today we have to live in a new sort of way - in schisms, lawlessness and mutual strife, in which- according to their delusion- a special spirituality supposedly exists.
All this is so. But it was similar in the last days of the life of our Saviour, when the authorities had successfully slandered Christ in the front of the people, and when everyone renounced Him and fled from Him, and then before the court, He was left alone. No human flesh can withstand the weight of the sins of all mankind, which lowered itself onto the shoulders of the Savior and thus made Him cry out with a loud voice: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Mt. 27.46; Mk 15.34). Many people who remain faithful to Christ, are ready themselves to repeat those same bitter words, upon seeing what is going on around them.
But we know that a new flesh and a new life which is born - is always born through agony. The result of Christ's suffering and death was the birth of a new, eternal life, which could not have happened otherwise. Everything occurring around us now, and all that has happened before, can be called the millennial torment of the birth of a new people for the Kingdom of Heaven. "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Mt 24:21). "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." (Mt 24:13). Through great patience, human souls are saved. To be resurrected, one must endure death. This was shown to us by Christ Himself. We must believe - no matter how heavy the weight which falls on our hearts- that in the end, the Kingdom of Heaven awaits us, in which there will be nothing of the sort which oppresses us today.
There will come a day in which the world around us will disappear, and there will be a new world and a new life: "And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new." (Rev. 21.5), and in this new one : "Let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal Kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep over his sins, for forgiveness has shone forth from the tomb: let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free." (St. John Chrysostom's Paschal Sermon).
And today's celebration is the threshold of this new life. Truly - Christ is risen, and through life in Him- renewed strength is born!
Christ is Risen! - Truly He is Risen!
Pascha of Christ 2018