Patriarchal Pascha Encyclical 2022

The Serbian Orthodox Church
to her spiritual children at Pascha, 2022
By the Grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade Karlovci and Serbian
Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church to all the clergy,
monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our Holy Church: grace, mercy and
peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the
joyous Paschal greeting:
Christ is Risen!
“This is the day which the Lord has made;
Let us greatly rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 117:24
Our dear spiritual children,
With these words from the Old Testament days, the king and prophet
David enthusiastically cried out, foreseeing by the Holy Spirit the great day of
Christ’s victory over death and our spiritual celebration because of that. On this
great and mysterious Day all creation is bathed in the light of eternity and with
unspeakable joy sings the song of victory to the Lord who banished the darkness of
sin and illumined us with the unfading rays of life. “And the light shines in the
darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,” (St. John 1:5) – so the essence of
divine revelation and our Christian testimony was summed up by the Holy Apostle,
Evangelist and Theologian John who during the Mystical Supper rested his head
upon Lord’s bosom and took in all the power, beauty and mystery of His lifegiving Being as the God-Man.
The darkness of the grave and the shackles of death could not overcome
nor restrain the Light of Light born of the Father before all ages, through Whom
everything came into being — the Only-Begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
although they tried to do so in every way. From the night he was handed over to
the lawless, everything was so full of unbelief and violence that the crucified
Christ finally had to cry out: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (St.
Patriarchal Pascha Encyclical 2022 p. 2
Mark 15:34). Seeing how the once glorious Jerusalem was shrouded in the spiritual
darkness of sin, the Only-Begotten Son watched from the highly-raised Cross as
the dark mouth of the tomb gaped before him in order to swallow him forever.
From the stony ground of its sharp edges, the leaders of the faith and the people
mockingly told the Lord to transform the Cross’ good news of salvation into a
proud acceptance of the power of the fallen world: “Let Him now come down from
the cross, and we will believe Him.” (St. Matthew 27:42)
In that hour of hopelessness even the dying grunting of the crucified
prisoners turned to mocking the living God, the Savior of the world: mocking Him
Who came down among us out of love and illuminated the darkness of our lives
with eternal light and joy; mocking Him Who, by interpreting his Heavenly Father
in the ancient Jewish tradition, showed the fatherly face of God to the whole world;
mocking Him Who, through his sufferings and glorious resurrection, made us
children of the life-giving love of God; mocking Him Who gave the gracious
power of life to His Church, “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15),
against which “the gates of hell will not prevail” (St. Matthew 16:18); mocking
Him Who encouraged us to be persistent proclaimers of meaning in this gloomy
age; mocking Him Who like a meek Lamb (cf. St. John 1:36), was offered for our
sins, and Who will be God’s last Word at the terrible judgment – the temple of the
New Jerusalem, shining with the glory of God. (cf. Revelation 21: 22-23)
We are always ascending Mount Golgotha, dear spiritual children, because
we are called to witness to the living God in the world and thus participate in the
salvation of every creature of God. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we are, according to
the Holy Apostle Paul, children of God in whom all creation longs for deliverance
from corruption and for the joy of eternal life. (cf. Romans 8:21) This sense of
responsibility among us is especially emphasized today, due to the general crisis in
the world and the fact that the flames of war and destruction in Ukraine have
joined those other places on the planet which have declared armed conflict the only
answer to differences and disagreements between countries, peoples and faiths. We
sympathize with all Orthodox Christians, brothers and sisters; we sympathize and
co-suffer with all the people of this world as we see the conflicts on Ukrainian soil
and throughout the world deepen even more. The great Apostle Paul reminds us:
“(God) has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the
earth.” (Acts 17:26)
Therefore, we were created as one unique human race, and we are called to
be one. Thus, we pray to the Risen Lord that peace be established as soon as
possible and unconditionally, that suffering cease, and that all refugees return to
their homes. Every war, anywhere and anytime, produces only losers and is a
defeat of human dignity, a defeat and shame of every person as an icon of God.
And while the forces of this world are waging ruthless wars, most suffering is
Patriarchal Pascha Encyclical 2022 p. 3
endured by the common man. What will we, who are gathered today on the Feast
of feasts, warmed by the warmth of our homes, say to those who are separated
from their loved ones by a destructive power and are scattered abroad? How are we
going to sing the Paschal hymn when there are so many of us hungry and thirsty
for justice, so many uncomforted? May the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, whose
Kingdom is not of this world, lead us to answer these questions – for “if My
kingdom were of this world,” as the Savior told Pilate, “My servants would fight, so
that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”
(John 18:36)
At a time when Judea was also divided by the interests of Rome, Syria and
Persia, the God-man Jesus showed us the meaning of these words in many ways.
We only remember the healing of the demon-possessed Gadarene man, brothers
and sisters, when it is said that he was possessed by a legion of demons (cf. St.
Mark 5: 1-20). The scene of an untamable man who lived among graves and fought
with stones day and night depicts the tragic situation of many under Roman rule
and connects all past, present and future victims of global conflicts who without
Christ, sooner or later, are doomed to self-destruction. Having healed a helpless
man by expelling legions of enemies into a herd of unclean animals, Christ showed
us that it was important for Him to bring the victim out of the grave and provide
the possibility of eternal life, and only then solve external living conditions. This
could only be done by the eternal Logos who dwelt among men in the fullness of
grace and truth (cf. St. John 1:14). That is why He leaves that rescued man to
witness to the mercy of God in the same circumstances, and that is why He finally
voluntarily leaves the regions where God proved to be more powerful than all the
impurities that moved their rulers. The kingdom of Christ, therefore, is not of this
world, and it is the gospel of salvation. The kingdom of Christ is not of this world,
and with that power we rise for eternal life. The kingdom of Christ is not of this
world, and that is why we do to each of the “least of these” in their need, without
distinction. The kingdom of Christ is not of this world, and therefore let us
embrace the other as the Lord himself, because only in this way will we be
accepted as His.
Let us turn to love, dear spiritual children, because the voice of the angel
himself above the empty tomb of Christ directs us to this: “Why do you seek the
living among the dead? He is not here; He is risen!” (St. Luke 24: 5-6) Let us
cultivate the knowledge that “our citizenship is in heaven”, as the Apostle Paul
says, “and from it we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”
(Philippians 3:20). Let us also be aware that the primordial methods of deceiving
us with passions and fears in the abuse of the mass media can easily make us
people of enslaved mind and suppressed conscience, strangers to our heavenly
destiny. Let us beware of the apparent security of a global anthill that wants to
Patriarchal Pascha Encyclical 2022 p. 4
make us impersonal prisoners of self-sufficiency. Spending time in the belief that
the virtual world of unhealthy imagination and the consumption of material goods
can achieve true well-being means being doomed to a life without dignity and
freedom. In a world that refuses to be soaked in the light of divine love, labors and
sacrifices are not understood as the way of Christ’s Golgotha, as the cross through
which resurrection will come by God’s grace, but as terrible obstacles to personal
peace and security. May our deep fidelity to the cross-bearing and resurrectional
destiny of our Serbian people in the way of Saint Sava preserve us from that, and
may our decision to follow the New Testamental way of Kosovo lead us to eternal
meaning. The earthly kingdom is but for a little while, but the heavenly one is
always and forever!
In recent months, many of our doctors, health workers and many other
people who have found themselves with difficult and responsible duties have
shown immortal acts of self-sacrificing love for God and the fatherland. Looking at
the saints of the Church of Christ and imitating their holy ancestors, they walked
and continue to walk the path of Christ-like virtues, the path of love that contains
and conceives everything, by which the disciples of Christ and the people of God
are known. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his
friends ” (St. John 15:13) – that is how the Lord Christ bequeathed to us the path of
true life and peace, outside of which life’s difficulties are an arena of nonsense.
In the joy of the Resurrection, with special pastoral care and responsibility,
we send our paternal greetings and prayers to our sisters and brothers in the
homeland and abroad, wherever Orthodox Serbs live, and especially to those in
Kosovo and Metohija, our spiritual and national cradle, telling them that we know
their temptations and struggles, but that their Mother Church will always be with
them, as it has been up to now. Today we are with you in spirit and prayer
wherever you live. May every Orthodox home be illumined by the light of the
Risen Christ and overshadowed by the power of the joyful song: “Christ is risen
from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs
bestowing Life!”
May this day in which we are born to eternal life be blessed by God and be
happy for all! With these wishes and prayers to the Risen Lord Christ, we wish you
every true good and we greet you with the most joyous greeting:
Christ is Risen!
Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Pascha 2022.
Your intercessors before the Resurrected Christ:
Patriarchal Pascha Encyclical 2022 p. 5
Archbishop of Pec,
Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
Serbian Patriarch PORFIRIJE
Metropolitan of Dabro-Bosna CHRYSOSTOM
Metropolitan of Montenegro and the Coastlands JOANIKIJE
Bishop of Srem VASILIJE
Bishop of Banja Luka JEFREM
Bishop of Budim LUKIJAN
Bishop of Banat NIKANOR
Bishop of New Gracanica-Midwestern America LONGIN
Bishop of Canada MITROPHAN
Bishop of Backa IRINEJ
Bishop of Great Britain and Scandinavia DOSITEJ
Bishop of Zicha JUSTIN
Bishop of Vranje PAHOMIJE
Bishop of Sumadija JOVAN
Bishop of Branicevo IGNATIJE
Bishop of Zvornik-Tuzla FOTIJE
Bishop of Mileseva ATANASIJE
Bishop of Düsseldorf and Germany GRIGORIJE
Bishop of Ras and Prizren TEODOSIJE
Bishop of Western America MAXIM
Bishop of Gornji Karlovac GERASIM
Bishop of Eastern America IRINEJ
Bishop of Krusevac DAVID
Bishop of Slavonia JOVAN
Bishop of Austria and Switzerland ANDREJ
Bishop of Bihac-Petrovac SERGIJE
Bishop of Timok ILARION
Bishop of Nis ARSENIJE
Bishop of Buenos Aires and South Central America KIRILO
Bishop of Australia and New Zealand Metropolitanate SILUAN
Bishop of Dalmatia NIKODIM
Bishop of Osek-Polje and Baranja HERUVIM
Bishop of Valjevo ISIHIJE
Bishop of Budim and Niksic METODIJE
Bishop of Zahumlje and Hercegovina DIMITRIJE
Vicar Bishop of Moravica ANTONIJE
Vicar Bishop of Remezijan STEFAN
Vicar Bishop of Toplica JEROTEJ
Vicar Bishop of Hvostan JUSTIN
Vicar Bishop of Mohac DAMASKIN
Vicar Bishop of Marcha SAVA
Vicar Bishop of Hum JOVAN
Patriarchal Pascha Encyclical 2022 p. 6
Archbishop of Ochrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje JOVAN
Bishop of Polog and Kumanovo JOAKIM
Bishop of Bregalnica MARKO
Vicar Bishop of Stobi DAVID
[The Path of Orthodoxy translation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.