Ecumenical patriarch: Easter, Christ’s victory over death belongs to all Christians
Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Christ’s resurrection is the one and only true springtime in the life of man. This is the fundamental point of the Ecumenical patriarch Bartholomew I’s Easter message delivered to a crowd of faithful who had come from all corners of the Christian world to celebrate together with him the Orthodox Easter. Their presence went some way to filling the empty spaces of those Christians forced to flee continuing restrictions.
“Look, Winter has passed! – began Bartholomew – and the springtime” of our salvation “has come”. “Flowers are blossoming in the fields, the song of the turtledoves can be heard, (….) and vines are sending forth their fragrance”. Sacred, holy, great Easter has come and it warms us, shining forth and illuminating the world. “Now the whole world is filled with light, the heavens, the earth and the underworld”. “Christ has risen!”, “he has risen from the dead and with his death he has quashed death itself”. “The underworld has been embittered by its encounter with Him, because not only has he cancelled out all of their powers and emptied their darkened abode, gifting life to all who until that moment lay in tombs, but because he gifts life without end and the certain resurrection of all those who until the end of time believe in Him, live in Him and maintain their profession of faith in Him”.
“Here, beloved Brothers, wanted Children – continued Bartholomew – is the meaning of this great feast, springtime atmosphere, which the Church announces with the season of joy to the entire world. The harsh winter of death has passed! The cold tyranny of the devil has been completely defeated, the terrible reign of shadows and perdition has been dissolved. The Lord has established his kingdom, he has dressed himself in splendour!. We have seen Christ who willingly suffered on the Cross for his extreme love, who died and was buried for us and for our salvation. We have adored Him, resurrected from the dead, and together with the Apostles and the women myrophores we have heard the words spoken by Him Peace to All! and Rejoice! And our hearts are filled with joy. And no-one can take that joy from you, because it has come to pass that the personal death of each one of us has been definitively defeated. From the moment when we too crucify the carnal thoughts of the old man that lies within each of us, with his passions and desires”.
“Our eternal problem – continues Bartholomew – was thus resolved once and for all by the Risen Lord- Our aguish has ended. Christ has risen and life reigns!. Since then, our life and resurrection has no longer been a request, a dream, a utopia, but a concrete reality. A reality that has a concrete person and name, ‘above all other names’, Jesus Christ, before whom ‘even knee shall bow, in heaven on earth and below’ and very tongue shall profess his Kingdom, his glory and the inheritance of his Father, together with all those who are participants in his crucifixion, death and resurrection, like ‘a first born son of many children’.
“From our martyred Patriarchal and Ecumenical Cathedra – concluded Bartholomew – we continuously pray that the Lord grant us peace in the world, the light of truth and justice to the souls of men, patience and relief to those who are being tried, the taste of salvation and eternal life to all faithful”.