When reading the Holy Gospels, one of the most striking things we see is that after the Lords Resurrection, His Disciples were not the first to see Him. Instead, it was the women who had anointed Jesusdead body with myrrh, who would receive the blessing to see the Lord first. These pious women, who remained faithful to Him since the beginning, kept the flame of devotion constantly burning in their hearts. They followed Jesus and the Twelve Apostles during their public ministry, and served them in the needs of daily life. St. Luke the Evangelist notes that the women who accompanied Jesus provided for His needs from what they had (see Luke 8:3). Some of them were wealthy, such as Joanna, the wife of Chuza, who was an official for King Herod.

Today we commemorate St. Thomas the Apostles declaration of faith in the Risen Christ as his Lord and God (see John 20:28). It is the 8th day after Pascha, and is called Thomas Sunday” in memory of this event. From what we know in the Gospels, St. Thomas was a fisherman. There is a particular mention of him fishing in the Sea of Galilee (also called Tiberias) (see John 21:2-3). No doubt the Lord also called St. Thomas from the water to follow Him, as He did with Sts. Peter, John and the others. St. Thomas greatly loved Christ, and was devoted to Him. When the Lord announced to His Disciples that Lazarus had died, and that He had to go to Bethany on the outskirts of Jerusalem (where the Jews were conspiring to kill Him), it was St. Thomas who said to the others: Let us also go, that we may die with Him (John 11:16).

As we continue to celebrate the joy of the Resurrection today, we also commemorate the victorious great martyr, St. George. He was from Cappadocia, born into a wealthy and noble family. He was a high ranking officer in the Roman army, and a Christian, who was arrested for his faith during one of the persecutions ordered by Emperor Diocletian (284-305). After a period of horrific trial, he was beheaded and later buried in Lydde, Palestine. In the conscience of the Church, he was immediately recognized as a Saint, inspired by the many miracles surrounding him. The veneration of St. George soon extended throughout the world, and when the persecutions ended, churches were built dedicated to him in Constantinople, Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere.

† B A R T H O L O M E W
BY GODS MERCY
ARCHBISHOP OF CONSTANTINOPLE-NEW ROME
AND ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH
TO THE PLENITUDE OF THE CHURCH: MAY THE GRACE, PEACE AND MERCY
OF CHRIST RISEN IN GLORY BE WITH YOU ALL

* * *

Dearest brother Hierarchs and beloved children in the Lord,

Having arrived at Holy Pascha and becoming partakers of the joy of the Resurrection, we praise the Lord of glory, who trampled down death by death and resurrected with Him the entire race of Adam, opening for us all the gates of paradise.

Behold, today is the day of the Resurrection: Let us glory in the feast, let us embrace one another in joylet us forgive everything on Resurrection Day and let us all sing together: Christ is Risen!

Resurrection Day! It is the happiest day for all Orthodox believers, and the greatest celebration of our Orthodox faith that touches all hearts. Even those who for a variety of reasons attend Church infrequently, come for this great feast. Some have to travel for many miles, but they still come to hear the victorious hymn "CHRIST IS RISEN"! We see the lit candles held by the faithful, illuminating their faces with joy, and they happily crack the Pascha eggs, exchanging the Resurrection greeting: "Christ is Risen!" - "Indeed He is Risen!" Moreover, the hearts of those who have grown cold towards relatives, friends, and coworkers due to misunderstandings or other human weaknesses, are made warm again. Many touching incidents occur every year, when people who are estranged meet and embrace each other in forgiveness. The love of the Risen Christ has moved their souls, and they confirm the words of the hymnographer who says:

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Schedule of services on March 2021

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