Reverend Fathers,Honorable Ambassadors, Consuls, Community Leaders, and Archons,Chosen people of God,Friends, benefactors, and supporters of the Holy Metropolis of Sweden,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
“This is the chosen and Holy Day, the first of Sabbaths, the Sovereign and Queen, the Feast of Feasts, and Triumph of Triumphs, on which let us bless Christ forever.” (Ode VIII, Paschal Canon). We thank our Merciful Lord for showing us worthy to complete our journey through Holy and Great Lent with the appropriate spiritual preparation. As this ecclesiastical period ran its course, the baton was passed to Holy Week, which continued the liturgical year with its characteristic hymnography that is remarkably rich in meaning, and which, together with Orthodox iconography, represents the popularized form of our Church’s doctrinal teachings.
This week provides us with spiritual support, ensuring we do not lose our orientation, which is rooted in the Cross and the Resurrection. For over a year, our world continues to suffer from the coronavirus pandemic, which represents an extension of an era of experimentation, challenges, and various dangers. And while we are compelled to follow along with the rest of the world in this new reality, which undoubtedly overturned the status quo that existed until today, the Church, following its six-week spiritual preparation, calls upon us to become witnesses to this magnificent event which we could have never seen or interpreted with our earthly eyes alone.
With regard to the Resurrection, some people are “earwitnesses” and others are “eyewitnesses;” in other words, some people have heard about the Resurrection of Christ the God-man, yet remain lackadaisical, while other have seen it, but looked no further than the spectacle itself. On the other hand, there are others – and I hope we are numbered among them – who have progressed far enough in their spiritual life to be deemed worthy to experience in this world that for which St. Basil the Great prays in the Divine Liturgy: “in return for earthly things, heavenly gifts; for temporal, eternal; for corruptible, incorruptible.”
Since the time that Christ shed His Blood on the Cross as a “ransom for many” and vanquished death, pouring out a balsam from His lifegiving side “from which came the healing of humanity and its tremendous trauma,” as we chant during the Doxastikon of the Vespers for the Sunday of Thomas, do we praise Him ceaselessly for His gift of salvation to us?
Since we confess that “through the Cross joy has come to the entire world,” let us preserve this joy in our lives, without forgetting that joy and exultation are fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, let us cry out “Hosanna” to the Risen Christ and not “Crucify Him,” and let us lead “another life;” the life that is “everlasting.” For “exulting we praise and extol the Cause, exalting the only God of the Fathers, blessed and supremely glorious.” (Troparion of Ode VII, Paschal Canon). Christ is Risen, beloved Brothers and Sisters! With all my love in the Risen Lord and many paschal paternal wishes,
+ Metropolitan Cleopas of Sweden and All Scandinavia