Elder Vasilios of Iveron on Pascha 20204 May 2020
“This year, the Resurrection tells us many things. If it is true what we believe, and if we are living that which we chant, that “we celebrate the death of death, the deposition of Hades, and the beginning of another, eternal life” (Canon of Pascha), then we would fear for nothing. And every single threat increases the power of the presence of the risen Lord.
“That which occurred this year with the Coronavirus is a temptation, but all temptations are transformed into blessings. We chant “let us say, O brethren, even to those who hate us.” (Doxastikon of Pascha) And those who hate us are waiting for our love, and those who do not believe are waiting for the power of our faith. Therefore, if one believes, through this trial he has celebrated the best Pascha this year. In order to have the best Pascha at the time when you cannot celebrate Pascha, one must sense the power of the Risen One, and thus have community with all men.
“And while a temptation such as an illness can create problems, it can reveal the presence of the risen Lord. Amidst the messages and from within the souls of all men comes forth a consolation. The hymn of Kassiane says: “Who can recount the multitude of my sins, and the abysses of Your judgments, my soul-saving Savior?” On the one hand, there is the totality of sins and weaknesses. And on the other hand, there is an abyss of compassions, a bottomless ocean, where storms occur not just to clean out the debris that has accumulated in the lakes, but also to pour forth the element of healing.
“Therefore, the Church rejoices even more at the presence of the Risen One through this trial. And at the same time is also tested the material strength of our faith, and reveals the weakness of him who does not believe, but also, he who believes in himself and in his virtue. Therefore we have this current phenomenon. Some of the faithful–I don’t know how to name them–trying to give consolation, condemn. They condemn the Church, and in essence, they reveal their own weakness. Therefore, let us thank the risen Christ, His Mother the Most-Holy Theotokos, and all the Saints who hold within them the Paradise of life.
“Let us entreat Christ to strengthen the truth of our humility, in other words, for us to sense our own weakness until our whole self is Christ. And then we can say together with the Apostle Paul: “For whether we live or die, we are with the Lord.” Either we are living, or we are dead in the flesh, but our life is Christ. Therefore, “Christ is risen, and life reigns, Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the tomb.” (Paschal Homily of St. John Chrysostom) To Him belongs the glory and the might unto the ages of ages. Amen.”