Bishop John: Paschal Epistle 2020
of His Grace John,
bishop of Melbourne and Australia
Beloved in Christ, pastors, clergy, brothers and sisters in Christ,
There is nothing on this earth which gives such joy to the human heart as the mystical assurance of Christ’s Victory over death and corruption. This is the gift of eternal life, eternal joy, which begins here and now, in this seeming valley of sorrows.
Temporary trials and sorrows are fleeting. They are small school lessons which enable our hearts to grow in our relationship with the Living, Almighty God. He constantly wishes us the utmost good, and cares for our souls as a loving Father. He arranges for our spiritual progress, so we can become more sober, and experience pure joy.
Therefore, dear brothers and sisters,
Let us purify our senses, and we shall behold Christ, radiant with the unapproachable light of the Resurrection! And we shall clearly hear Him say: Rejoice! As we sing the hymn of victory!
(Paschal Canon, Ode 1)
The Holy Fathers encourage us to purify our senses, to turn away from the frivolities of earthly life, and to reject tempting and deceitful thoughts which often confuse us. If we follow this instruction, we will receive joy and peace from above, and will be able to say with the Apostle Paul:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (…) Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
of Melbourne and Australia
Russian Orthodox Church Abroad