Dear Parish Faithful,
CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!
The short passage below being offered as a paschal meditation, captures the resurrectional nature of the Orthodox Church in a very personal manner, as it is based on Bp. Nikolai's paschal experience in Jerusalem. Notice how what he experienced in the paschal service "colors" his perception of the world around him once that resurrectional joy has entered his mind and heart. Everyday reality - mundane as it may usually seem - is now seen to be "different," meaning brighter or perhaps even more real.
"We waited, and at last our expectations were fulfilled," writes the Serbian Bishop Nikolai of Ochrid, describing the Easter service at Jerusalem. "When the Patriarch sang 'Christ is Risen', a heavy burden fell from our souls. We felt as if we also had been raised from the dead. All at once, from all around, the same cry resounded like the noise of many waters. 'Christ is Risen' sang the Greeks, the Russians, the Arabs, the Serbs, the Copts, the Armenians, the Ethiopians - one after another, each in his own tongue, in his own melody ... Coming out from the service at dawn, we began to regard everything in the light of the glory of Christ's Resurrection, and all appeared different from what it had yesterday; everything seemed better, more expressive, more glorious. Only in the light of the Resurrection does life receive meaning."
And then Archbishop Kallistos further remarks:
This sense of resurrection joy, so vividly described by Bishop Nikolai, forms the foundation of all worship of the Orthodox Church; it is the one and only basis for our Christian life and hope.