"O divine, O dear, O sweetest Voice! For Thou, O Christ, hast faithfully promised to be with us to the end of the world. And holding fast this promise as an anchor of hope, we the faithful rejoice.” (9th Ode of the Paschal Canon)

Glory to the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ, Who once again has made us worthy to greet His All-Holy Pascha! Although we come to the Lord on this Feast of feasts surrounded by different temptations and challenges in the world, society around us and even within the Church, the Lord comes forth from the Tomb to give us joy. He gives us life and freedom from sin. Our spiritual torment and death is scattered by His Resurrection. He takes away the sting of death and the victory of hell over man, shattering them both and giving us all eternal life in His Kingdom and with Him. His Resurrection melts all the difficulties as wax before the fire, and our main concentration becomes His suffering and conquering of death for our sake.

Let us then, dear brothers and sisters, never despair, for our Lord is with us and remains with us forever. Let us not be frightened by the challenges of the contemporary world, neither of the threats and temptations of this fallen world. If we are with Christ, then no one can destroy us. If we live truly as His servants, and even more so as His children, following His teachings and commandments, then who can be against us? This is testified by the 800 years of autocephaly experienced by our Serbian Orthodox Church, which we are celebrating this year. Although our Church and People have undergone so many trials and tribulations over the last eight centuries, we—the children of St. Sava and the followers of the Resurrected Christ—have not been left without the Lord or His victory. We have persevered, we have overcome, we have remained strong, but only through Christ and His great mercy.

Let us gather this year to give glory to God who has shown us His mercy and love for mankind. Standing on the foundation of hope of the resurrected Christ, let us confess before all nations that the Lord is good and His mercy endures forever, exclaiming:

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

In the Resurrected Christ,

+ L O N G I N
Bishop of New Gracanica and Midwestern America

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