Istanbul (AsiaNews) - The message for Pascha of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew a focused on the victory of life over death, and the hope that is created among men by the resurrection of the Man-God. The patriarch's message was also intended as a response to those who, like the thinkers Nietzsche and Sartre, together with their followers, proclaim the death of God.
These declarations of the atheist philosophers, Bartholomew says, have certainly disturbed men's consciences. The result has been a great confusion in the areas of spirituality, literature, art, and theology, and, especially in the West, there is even discussion of a "theology of the death of God."
The patriarch emphasizes that the Church, naturally, "does not have and has never had any doubt that God died. This happened in 33 A.D., on the mountain of Golgotha in Jerusalem, under Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. After suffering an unprecedented passion, he was crucified as a criminal, and, toward the ninth hour on Friday, said 'it is finished!' and handed over his spirit. So far, we agree with the philosophers. We would even accept that the churches, the temples, should be called 'the tombs,' 'the sepulchers' of God!
"Nonetheless," Bartholomew continues, "we know, live, and adore the living God, as one who died who is captain of life, who rose again after after the tremendous passion that he suffered. And this, the resurrection, is in the same way an undeniable historical reality, which has beneficial consequences on all of us, for all of us. The Son of God is risen, who is at the same time also the Son of Man! God is risen, with all the trappings of his humanity: the Body that he took from the immaculate nature of the Most Holy Mother of God, and his Holy Soul. He is risen from the dead, 'he has regenerated Adam by rising as the Friend of men'. And together with him, the true sun of justice has risen. We should be grateful," the ecumenical patriarch concludes, "that God died, because his death has become our life and resurrection! Fortunately, therefore, there are many 'sepulchers' in the world, many holy temples, where the suffering can enter freely in order to be freed from their own death. Fortunately, there are churches of the crucified Christ who died, rose, and is eternally alive, in that the man of today who lives in desperation, because he has been betrayed by all of his idols, by all of the 'little gods' of mistaken ideas that have stolen his heart - the economy, ideology, philosophy, the metaphysics of this time - finds refuge, consolation, and salvation.
"From the see of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, where the Mother Church in its being the Passion, Suffering, Cross, and Death, and at the same time the Resurrection of the God-Man, exclaims: Christ is truly risen."