Be not affrighted:
Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified:
He is risen; He is not here
(Mark 16, 6)
Your Graces arch-pastors,
Most Reverend monastics,
Righteous priests and deacons,
Right-faithful Christians of our Holy Church,
Christ is Risen!
With parental love do I address these special words of congratulation to all servants of our holy altars and to the right-faithful and God worshiping people, on the most glorious feast of Christianity – Resurrection from the dead of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection of our Lord and God dissipates fear and banishes sadness, covering the humanity with peace, joy, light, and love. The Holy Apostles and the Myrrh-bearing Women were relieved from vain fear, and replenished with the love of God, Who heals and fills everything.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8: 35-39).
Beloved in the Risen Christ brothers and sisters,
God took my thoughts to these words of Apostle Paul, as to words uttered under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the strengthening and encouragement in faith and hope to our Lord during times of persecution, temptation, misfortune that Christians of all nations and generations experienced over time. I bring these words into your hearts now that we are all facing a fearful pandemic, and need, probably more than ever, spiritual strengthening that they render.
This epidemic seeks to fill our hearts with fear and plunge us into panic. We know, however, that fear is not natural to a human being; it appeared after the falling of our proto-parents into sin, and it amplifies with further falling.
That is why, the first thing we need is to repent. True repentance relieves us from fear. Our Lord Jesus Christ says in the Gospel “Repent!”, and His most frequent advice to us is “Do not fear!” When we cast away sin from our hearts, fear flees. Let us replenish our hearts relieved from fear with love for our neighbour. This Christian charity should make us now very responsible in the support of our peers in sickness and suffering.
At the same time, repentance and true love open our hearts and souls, enabling them to receive Christ Who has overcome world and death. If we truly believe in His Resurrection, and know that He wants to help us take part in the Resurrection, than nothing can frighten us any longer, while we follow with increasing faithfulness Him Who healed many but brought disease to none.
The Feast of the Glorious Resurrection of our Saviour, in these conditions of the pandemic, when the churches are empty of people, brings us to the Tomb that was found empty by the Apostles and the Myrrh-bearing women, who were seeking His dead body and remained astounded, for they knew not “who took Him and where He was laid”. The churches are now empty of us, but not of Christ, that is why, we should not remain spiritually empty and left outside of the Church of Christ, but seek Him inside ourselves.
When we truly repent and even want to find Him, like Mary Magdalene who supposed Him to be the gardener, telling him, “Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.” (John 20: 15), then He will reveal Himself to us, telling us that He is “the One who is taken and who gives Himself”, the One who makes Himself unseen “for a little while” and the One who shows Himself to us again “after a little while” (John 16: 17).
He is the Doctor who comes not to the healthy ones, but to the ill ones. We who are ill of lawlessness, however, consider ourselves healthy. And if this danger, like a bitter medicine, helps us to hunger and thurst after righteousness, then our Doctor-Christ will dutifully come as He did come to His disciples even through the shut doors (John 20: 19).
Beloved sons and daughters of the Resurrection,
I address with parental care to all those at home and to all those abroad our country: let us have our hearts filled with hope, faith, and love for Jesus who overcame death, and serving to our neighbour, to all those in suffering, chant together with the psalmist: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me…Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 23).
Let the Light of the Risen Christ light for all and the work of love!
Truly Christ is Risen!
METROPOLITAN OF CHISINAU AND ALL MOLDOVA
Resurrection of the Lord,
Year of salvation 2020,