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April 24, 2022

A Lesson for the Soul on Pascha Sunday: Be Joyful (Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios)

Be Joyful
 On Holy Saturday
we commemorate 
the Bright Resurrection of our Savior Christ.

"Rejoice!" (Matt. 28:1-10)
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice. (Philip. 3:1-4)

By Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios
The anthem of Christianity is joy.

The first word that was heard from the mouth of the Risen Jesus was, "Rejoice!"

It was joy that was spread by the Great Conqueror.

He is the Conqueror of the devil, who had brought about sin and death. The Psalmist sees through the centuries the coming of the Conqueror and reveals with his prophetic eye the dialogue of the Angels who receive in Heaven the Conqueror Christ: "Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory" (Psalm 23:9-10).

And the Apostle Paul now, rejoices in this event: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

A Christian who has not yet felt the joy that Christ gives, must doubt his Christianity.

And how can one not rejoice when we know that the old accounts of sin have been paid off, that death has been defeated and we will get our bodies back, and that a mighty, eternal and divine Kingdom has been prepared for mankind?

"Let no one bewail," cries Chrysostom, "the common kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for their iniquities, for forgiveness has shown forth from the tomb. Let no one fear death, for the Savior's death has set us free... Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep."

And the poet, with comfort, sings: "... Stone slabs that stood heavy, in the tombs and in the hearts, my Christ broke."

Christ is Risen! "Rejoice!"

Doxastikon of the Resurrection
It is the day of Resurrection; let us be radiant for the festival, 
and let us embrace one another. 
Let us say, O brethren, even to those that hate us: 
Let us forgive all things on the Resurrection; 
and thus let us cry: Christ is risen from the dead, 
by death He has trampled down death, 
and on those in the tombs He has bestowed life.
Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.