Paschal Epistle of His Grace Bishop Irenei of London and Western Europe

To the Venerable Clergy, God-Loving Monastics and Pious Faithful,
Children of the Diocese of Great Britain and Western Europe

Dear in Christ, Fathers, Brothers and Sisters:

Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!

Such words once brought wonder to the Apostles and astonished the world. The disciples had, for a moment, believed that their hope was lost. “We had thought He was the one that might redeem Israel” they said (Luke 24:21), speaking of Jesus Who had been crucified. They had longed for salvation, and seemingly been rewarded with defeat as the world had crucified their longed-for King. Their sorrow grew, their hope faded. But then the holy women announced to them that their dead Christ was risen, that death was overcome, and that hope reigned. “Christ is risen!” they proclaimed, and the reality of their world, and ours, changed forever.

This message of confident hope can be difficult to receive, especially in times of deep grief; but rarely in our modern lives has the world so obviously needed to hear this saving proclamation. This is the message that sustained the Apostles and early Christians in the face of their persecutors; that granted strength to those under imperialist yokes; that brought consolation to martyrs and endurance, and even joy, to those suffering under the atheistic chains of oppression that dominated the past century. Now, as we see our fellow Christians facing untold persecution once more in our own — something we had hoped modern Christendom would never have to see again — this is the message that must, and that will, bring us confidence and joy in the midst of our new sorrows.

The voices of those first myrrh-bearing women are announcing to this generation the words of life. The Lord is risen, they tell us, and hope is alive. He is risen from death, and those who wage war shall see One Who defeats all who bring death, Who brings persecutions to nought, and Who is victorious over all evil. We know, brothers and sisters, that the works of the devil shall fall. Evil may have its moment, but God shall have the final word. Today, He rises from the dead, the Light comes anew into the darkness, and the candle of faith is rekindled.

May this truth, which is stronger than lies and filled with redeeming power, bring your hearts to new life and all our souls into the joy of the Kingdom of Almighty God. He is risen! Truly, He is risen!

Bestowing upon you the blessings of our Risen Lord, and coveting your prayers,

+ Irenei
Bishop of London and Western Europe
Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia

Pascha, 2023


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