Saint Metropolitan Philaret’s Epistle for Pascha 1974
…This truly ineffable, grand and brilliant joy, incomparable with any other on earth, is sent to us as a gift of grace and the mercy of God on the great feast of Christ’s resurrection. In the bright Pascal night when the faithful soul is ready to cry out with the words of the Mother of God, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
We know that not one nation kept the feast of Holy Pascha as did the Russians, joyfully, solemnly and in splendor. The day of Pascha in the Russian land were days of continuous celebration and rejoicing in the risen Lord. But, what is over there now? Of course the faithful children of the Church even now experience joy and the bright night of Pascha there, finding in it consolation and fortification amidst unceasing persecutions against the faith and the Church. The brightness and power of the risen Savior of the world give them strength for the bearing of heavy sorrows according to the words of Saint Paul, who recounting all the persecutions and temptations that fell upon the faithful, triumphantly exclaimed, “We overcome all these things by the strength of Him Who hath loved us.”
But the fate of our brethren who remain under the heel of an evil, false, sacrilegious and fraudulent regime is still one of suffering. Who can measure the burden and martyrdom that the faithful soul, loving its Lord, must endure in that realm of blasphemy and Godlessness.
But if the faithful under the rule of an evil atheism are sufferers for their faith, what do we see now in the so-called free world? Is not that indifference to the truth, which seems not to be hostile and yet, which was judged to be worse than open warfare by the Lord in His appearance to Saint John in the Apocalypse spreading wider and wider? The Lord said, I will cast thee out of My mouth. He threatens those who are neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm, that is, who are indifferent to Him and to the Truth that He proclaims. After all, only lukewarmness and indifference to the truth can explain the success and speed with which modernism, ecumenism and other spiritual rubbish spread among mankind and the religious decay of the free world.
But in view of what has taken place in this world, let us recall the exalted exhortation of the Apostle above. “Love not the world, nor that which is in the world, who loveth the world hath not the love of the Father. For all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes and the vanity of life.” And Saint James warns us, “know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity towards God? Thus he that would be friends with the world becometh an enemy of God.”
Let us remember that we are the children of God’s Church. And the Church, as the Apostle said, is the Body of Christ, at the same time, His kingdom on earth, that Kingdom which is not of this world, in the words of its divine Founder and Master. At the same time, while the world lives by its vanities and ungodly life, filled with the lust of the flesh, the desire of the eye and the pride of life in the most varied forms, the Church of Christ solemnly and joyously celebrates the glorious resurrection of our Lord and Savior while all its children take part in this triumph in the words of Chrysostom, “Enter ye all into the joy of your Lord.” May the risen Ruler of life and Victor of death grant us all His ineffable joy in the holy days of this great and bright feast.
Christ is risen!
Metropolitan Philaret, Pascha 1974
1 John 2:15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.