A Paschal Epistle by St. John Maximovitch of San Francisco

Virginmartyr Kerkyra and those with her

Beloved brothers and sisters in Our Risen Lord, God, Redeemer and Only True Savior Jesus Christ,


Glory to the Holy and consubstantial and Life-Giving and Undivided Trinity, always, now and ever and to the Ages of Ages. Amen.


Christ is risen from the dead, by death trampling upon Death, and has bestowed Life to those in the tombs. (Thrice)


O Christ our God, though Thou didst descend into the grave, yet didst Thou overthrown the power of Hades, and rise as an Immortal Conqueror. Thou didst greet the Myrrh-bearing women, and to Thine Apostles give peace, and to the fallen grant Resurrection.


Let us who have beheld the Resurrection of Christ, worship our Holy Lord Jesus, Who is alone without sin. We worship Thy Cross, O Christ, and praise and glorify Thy Holy Resurrection. For Thou art our God, and we know none other beside Thee, and we call upon Thy Name. Come, all ye faithful, let us worship Christ's Holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross, joy has come to the whole world. We praise His Resurrection, and forever glorify the Lord. He endured the Cross for us, and by death destroyed Death. Jesus, having risen from the grave, as He foretold, has given to us Eternal Life and Great Mercy.



On April 28th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and every righteous soul perfected in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Memnon the Wonderworker of Corfu; Nine Holy Martyrs of Cyzicus: Theognes, Rufus, Antipater, Theostichos, Artemas, Magnus, Theodotos, Thavmasius, and Philemon; Dada, Maximus, and Quintilian at Dorostolum; Afxentius, Bishop of Soli in Cyprus; Saint Cyril, bishop of Turov; Commemoration of the Miracle at Carthage; Saint Olymbia, Egoumenissa (Abbess) of Mitylene; Saint Cyriakos of Kargopol; Saint Tibald of Pannonia.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Ascetics, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Bishops, O Christ our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.


Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 3:19-26
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 2:1-11


"You will become worthy of the vision of the wondrous and blessed images of the Jerusalem on high in no other way than by day and night shedding tears according to the example of him who said: 'Every night I flood my bed, I water my couch with my tears' (Psalm 6:7). A tear shed from great sorrow and  heartfelt distress is food for the soul, given from heavenly bread." (Saint Macarius the Great)


By Saint John Maximovitch Archbishop of San Francisco

Let us cleanse our senses and see through the gleaming, unapproachable Light of Christ's Resurrection. Now is everything filled--full with Light--the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. All is presently bathed in Light: Christ is Risen from the dead. The heavens make merry, the earth rejoiceth, the underworld exulteth.

The Angels in Heaven hymn Thy Resurrection, O Christ-Savior. Do Thou make us, on earth, also worthy to glorify Thee with a pure heart. The Angelic Choir, horrified at seeing Its Creator and Master dead, doth now, in joyous song, glorify Him Resurrected. Today doth Adam exult, and Eve rejoiceth; and with them do the Prophets and Patriarchs sing worthy songs to the Creator of all and to our Deliverer, Who did descend into the underworld for our sake.

The Giver of Life doth lead men out of Hell this day, and up-lifteth them to Heaven; He layeth low the powers of the enemy (Satan) and breaketh down the gates of Hell by the Divine power of His Authority.

On earth, the Angels announce the gladsome tidings to men and declare Christ's Resurrection. Attired in gleaming white robes, the Angels ask the Myrrh-bearing Women: "Why seek ye the Living One amongst the dead? He is Risen; He is not here! Come, see the place where the Lord did lie". The Myrrh-bearing women rush to the Apostles, bearing to them the joyous news. And through the Apostles the Gospel is Christ's Resurrection preached unto the entire world today.

Not all the Apostles immediately saw the Risen Christ through spiritual eyes. Two disciples travelling to Emmaus did see Jesus walking with them, but did not recognize Him till such time as he had warned their saddened hearts; and then were their spiritual eyes opened. Mary Magdalene conversed with Christ in the garden, but neither recognized Him nor was cognizant of the mystery of the Resurrection, until the voice of her beloved Teacher touched her heart and illumined her soul, which had been given to thinking in worldly fashion.

It was the Beloved Disciple John, whose heart was pure and undimmed by timidity, who before all others exalted the Light of the Risen Christ through spiritual eyes; and with his bodily eyes did he behold the manifested Lord.

Scattering and dispersing the dark and gloomy tempest of sin, Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shone forth, gleaming not in the hearts and souls of the Apostles only, but in those of all who draw near to Him with faith seeking salvation. "Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed, Christ proclaimed; Blessed are those who have perceived Me not with bodily eyes, but with the eyes of the heart."

It was with his spiritual eyes that Archdeacon Stefanos, the Proto-Martyr, saw the heavens opened and the Lord Jesus at the Right Hand of God the Father. It was with eyes of faith that the Risen Lord was beheld by Great-Martyr George the Trophy-bearer and by all the other Holy Martyrs who laid down their earthly lives for Christ, in order that they might receive from Him Life Eternal. It was upon Him that "athletes"-of-the-spirit" did fix their spiritual gaze; despising earthly pleasures, they were crowned in the heavens with glory unfading.

But neither the Scribes nor the Pharisees, His enemies, saw the Resurrected Christ. Nor did the tormentors of the Holy Martyrs see Him, strengthening the martyrs. Neither did, nor do, all those whose spiritual gaze is dimmed by unbelief, whose heart is befouled with sins and vices, whose will is directed only toward earthly, ever see the Light of the Glory of the Risen Christ.

Let us cleanse our hearts from all filth and foulness, and our spiritual eyes will be enlightened.

The Light of Christ's Resurrection will flood and fill our souls, in like manner as the Church of the Resurrection, yearly, throughout the centuries, on Great Saturday, is illumined with light when the Orthodox--and only the Orthodox--Patriarch receives the Heavenly Fire.

Let us lift up our hearts! Let us forsake everything worldly; let us rejoice in this day and be exceedingly glad! Chris is Risen from the dead, having trampled death by death.

Christ is Risen!

(Source: Archbishop John, Pascha of Christ, 1956, Paris: Orthodox Heritage)

With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George