Voices from Russia

Sunday, 20 April 2014

20 April 2014. It’s Holy Easter! HOORAY!

00 Happy Easter 01. Happy Acolytes. 20.04.14.

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It’s a time of celebration and FUN… this is the central day for all real Christians. This is what our faith is all about. Don’t have a long face… this is a joyous time. That’s why so many people reject Christianity; it looks as though some believers were not only weaned on pickles, they’ve been their constant diet ever since. SMILE and pass the pierogies… we’re Christians… that’s what we do! … Yes, I WILL have seconds on the galumpkis, if you please.

BMD

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Paschal Message of His Holiness Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev to the Archpastors, Pastors, Deacons, Monastics, and all the Faithful Children of the Patriarchate of Moscow and all the Russias (19 April 2014)

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Easter 2012 01

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On this chosen and holy day, when the entire world, both visible and invisible (from Canon of Holy Pascha), praises the Author of Life and the Victor over Death, I warmly greet you all with the Paschal exclamation:

Christ is Risen!

Year in, year out, the good news of the Resurrection sounds triumphantly, prompting us to praise our God and Saviour, who vanquished death by death, making us partakers of the eternal life to come. As we celebrate this feast of feasts and celebration of celebrations, we remember in a special spiritual way the redemptive feat of the Saviour of the world, His sufferings on the cross, and Easter Sunday. Easter isn’t just some beautiful legend, it isn’t theoretical theology, nor is it a tribute to folk customs rooted in the distant past. It’s the very essence and core of Christianity. It’s a victory, granted to us by God.

Since the times of the Apostles to the present day, the Church preaches Christ’s Resurrection as the greatest miracle in the history of mankind. The Church teaches that this miracle isn’t only a fact attested by the Gospel, but… this is especially important… it’s a fundamental event for everyone who takes hold of Easter’s glad tidings. This holiday is particularly relevant to each of us; for in the Resurrection of Christ, the perfect Lord redeemed our fallen world… this is the greatest joy that a person can experience. No matter how difficult our life, whatever worldly adversities we face, whatever anguish we get from people, and the suffering we have from the imperfections of the world… all this is nothing compared to the spiritual joy that the hope of eternal salvation from God gives us.

According to the Apostle St Paul, who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to our mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in us (cf. Epistle of St Paul to the Romans 8.11). On the bright day of the Resurrection of Christ, the souls of millions of believers are filled with gratitude to our Creator, giving our earthly existence real meaning. Christ’s Pascha is a great celebration of life, a celebration of victory over death, carrying love, peace, and spiritual transformation. Every time that we celebrate Easter, it opens a new period of our lives, because the Risen Lord renews our human nature, strengthens us in trials, and gives us the fervour to perform good deeds.

The Easter tidings changed the subsequent course of world history; today, they lead us to moral transformation and spiritual renewal, which are essential to modern society. They remind all people about Christianity’s origins, as well about the future eternal kingdom, where God will be all in all (First Epistle of St Paul to the Corinthians 15.28). In these bright days of Easter celebration, we’re called to share our joy with our family and friends, to show them active love and mercy. This is a time-honoured tradition… if we do this, we bear witness to the legacy of Christ, and we show that we believe that the Lord is risen indeed.

Now, as always, the Church carries out its lifesaving mission with diligence and zeal, persistently proclaiming God’s truth, affirming the continuing importance of the Evangelical commandments, calling for peace and harmony, and serving the spiritual unity of the peoples under the pastoral care of the Moscow Patriarchate. Our special prayer today concerns the Russian and Ukrainian peoples, that peace may prevail in the hearts and minds of brothers and sisters by blood and by faith, to rebuild lost connections, and to reinvigorate much-needed coöperation. Proclaiming the love of God (cf. Epistle of St Paul to the Ephesians 3.19), Christianity unites people across national, cultural, and state boundaries; for the light of Christ enlightens all (cf. Gospel according to St John 1.9).

May the Risen Lord grant us all for the benefit of our souls to continue our earthly pilgrimage, bearing in mind our high calling of Christian responsibility and vocation to build strong belief and confidence in those about us, in sincere love and unwavering hope. May the joy of this holiday strengthen and inspire us to do good deeds, give us the courage and strength in the midst of the surging waves in the sea of life to keep balance and calm, to resist temptations and seductions, to overcome, according to St Sergei of Radonezh, the hateful strife of this world. May the life-giving light of the glory of Christ’s tomb be with us and illumine our hearts, extending to all near and far, to all who need our care and support.

I greet all of you on the feast of Holy Easter; I prayerfully wish you generous spiritual gifts, good health, and the grace of divine help in the victorious march of Christ. Amen.

Easter. Patr Kirill 15.04.12His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev

Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias

19 April 2014

Patriarchia.ru

MP official website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/3625847.html

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Televised Paschal Message of His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev, Patriarch of Moscow and all the Russias, 20 April 2014

00 Patriarch Kirill 02. Holy saturday. 20.04.14

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The Shining Resurrection of Christ… Easter… is the Feast of feasts and the Celebration of all celebrations. Why? Easter defeated the two main enemies of mankind… sin and death. In the Risen Christ, all mankind can now pass through previously impervious obstacles on the path of freedom and eternity. No one had ever overcome these barriers… not the highest wisdom of philosophers and scientists, nor the elegant works of artists and poets, nor the power of rulers, nor the art of diplomacy. However, Christ overcame them… He raised mankind to the divine glory; He abolished all that prevented us from becoming the same as He is.

Shortly before His crucifixion, in his farewell discourse with his disciples, Christ said, A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another (Gospel according to St John 13.34). What is this novelty? Yes, from now on, God is sovereign in His highest court, but not according to the norms of formal piety, but as a man to His fellow-man He carries them joy, peace, and goodness, or, on the contrary, discord, hatred, and enmity. That’s because He took on humanity… and now as He’s risen from the dead, God isn’t only a Judge, He’s also a Saviour. He’s the way and the truth and the life (Gospel according to St John 14.6). Christ isn’t only the sovereign in the court; He also becomes the protector of any sinner who turns to Him in faith. The most important stipulation in the New Testament is that people love one another, no matter what differences might be between them. After all, a deficiency of love destroys human love, divides families, and destroys society and the state.

In these days of Easter, we pray to God for the people of the Ukraine, to reconcile the warring parties, to end the violence, so that they could grant mercy to one another… so that all of their differences and whatever obstacles stood between them wouldn’t prevail. The Ukraine is a part of our One Church… it’s a part of our heart, given over to the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian people. During these Easter days, along with millions of Orthodox believers, I fervently pray for peace in the Ukraine.

A Christian is NOT someone who knows about the historical Jesus from a book, they’re someone who feels His presence in their life. For those who haven’t yet felt this presence, I’d like you to find the joy of meeting the Risen Saviour, so that you’d really feel the effect of the transforming action and power of God in your own experience.

To the Feast, my dear friends!                   

Christ is Risen!

20 April 2014

Patriarchia.ru

MP official website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/3630334.html

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Sermon of His Holiness Kirill Gundyaev of Moscow and all the Russias on Holy Saturday 19 April 2014

00 Patriarch Kirill. Holy saturday. 20.04.14

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With this magnificent divine service… the Liturgy of Holy Saturday… we enter the feast of Holy Easter.  Although Easter begins at midnight astronomically, when all the Church sings hymns to the risen Christ, now, inasmuch as this Liturgy has associations with the previous evening, and according to the Tradition of the Church, a feast begins at sundown, we enter into this celebration. This is an especially blessed Saturday, as Christ was asleep, asleep in the bonds of death… it was a human physical death, but it couldn’t overcome His Divine Body. We know that at the Resurrection the Lord rose from the dead. This is the greatest event in human history.

During this spiritually intense moment of our religious life, when we open our hearts to meet the Lord, the risen Saviour of the world, I urge everyone, all of our Church, to offer ardent and sincere prayer for the Ukraine. The Ukraine is a country politically apart, but spiritually and historically it most certainly isn’t such. Before God, we’re one people; we confess one Orthodox faith. Moreover, I’d like to reiterate that the Ukrainian people profess that faith, and none other. Of course, we respect religious minorities, but I continue to argue and will maintain that the Ukraine is organically united with Holy Rus… it’s an Orthodox country.

Today, we must pray for the people of Rus living in the Ukraine; we must ask the Lord to grant peacefulness to the Ukrainian land, to prevent internecine warfare within the Ukrainian state at all costs. In relations between the Ukraine and Russia, we must defeat the plans of those who’d use political means or forceful pressure to break Holy Rus. Repeatedly, many tried to do so throughout our history, but no one has ever managed to do so. Today, some think that they can exploit this gap by acquiring military and political superiority, we, as children of Orthodox Holy Rus, should pray to the Lord to bring peace to the Ukraine, to end the violence, to usher in a reign of harmony. The peoples of Holy Rus shouldn’t be enemies to one another. That’s so no one could ever use the peoples of Holy Rus for their own purposes, to push them into internecine warfare, thus, weakening their spiritual life, and, above all, to injure Orthodoxy.

Whilst respecting the sovereignty of the modern Ukraine, we pray also that the Lord would help to overcome the political and social crisis in that country caused by an overthrow of the legitimately elected government. We hope that the enemy of the human race doesn’t sow the seeds of discord in the Ukrainian people, not now, not at any time, nor under any circumstances, so as bring disunity between the Ukraine and the rest of historical Holy Rus.

19 April 2014

Patriarchia.ru

MP official website

http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/3630283.html

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