To His Eminence, Metropolitan of Pisidia, Exarch of Side and Antalya, our beloved brother in the Holy Spirit and co-servant of our Humility, Sotirios – may the grace and peace of God be with Your Eminence.
Having arrived through prayer and fasting to the Passion of Christ and reaching His bright Resurrection, we wish to address to His Eminence festal compliments and joyful greetings of love.
The world-saving Resurrection of our Lord, the victor over death by death, is the beginning of “new life”, the radical renewal of everything and the way to the Kingdom to come – to “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2. Peter 3:13). The Resurrection confirms that there is no fullness of life or freedom anywhere except in this Truth. The hope of the Christian does not only consist in an optimism that often is fed by illusions. Our “hope” is Christ (1. Timothy 1:1), who came and is coming, who revealed that the way to the Resurrection passes through Calvary and the Cross, and not through the “broad road” or the “wide gate” of false paradises. The Church of Christ leads us all to Easter through the “narrow gate” of ascetical struggle of the Great Lent.
In the Orthodox faith, the Cross is the way, not the end. The essence of our faith is the Resurrection according to St. Paul: “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain” (1. Corinthians 15:14). The Light of the Resurrection shines in the worship of the Church, in the spirituality and piety of the faithful, the theology of the church, and the Christian witness in the world. For each and every one of us, Easter is a commemoration of our baptism, our birth as members of the Church and our entrance into the “new creation” – an event that is sealed and fulfilled in the “mystery of the Kingdom”, in the communion of the Precious Gifts of the Divine Eucharist.
Our life in the Church “according to the resurrection”, strengthens and inspires the creative forces of man. The “experience of the resurrection” is testified by the feats of the saints; by the preaching of the Gospel “until the end of this world”; by the sacrificial love and by the blessed assurance of the Christian soul that a world is coming where “there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain” (Revelation 21:4.). The joy of Easter in the experience of the faithful is the “eschatological antidote”, that saved the people of God from union with the world and, at the same time, protected them from a barren spirituality lacking the living breath of the Resurrection.
It is in this spirit, with great respect and deep love in the Lord, that we embrace Your Eminence fraternally, crying out joyfully “Christ is risen!” and wishing You unwavering health and every divine blessing, invoking the grace and mercy of the risen Lord of the universe.