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Let no one fear death!

The early Christian Fathers of the Church, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, pointed out frequently that sin is the result of our fear of death. Since our Fall from communion with God and from His Grace, we became slaves to sin and to the devil because of this fear (Heb. 2:15): We cling to earthly things, we become egocentric, we become greedy, we seek power and honor on this earth, thinking that we will overcome death this way. In the end we immerse ourselves in sin and become miserable. For centuries we wondered around waiting for redemption crying out as St. Paul: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24)

The early Christian Fathers of the Church, following in the footsteps of St. Paul, pointed out frequently that sin is the result of our fear of death. Since our Fall from communion with God and from His Grace, we became slaves to sin and to the devil because of this fear (Heb. 2:15): We cling to earthly things, we become egocentric, we become greedy, we seek power and honor on this earth, thinking that we will overcome death this way. In the end we immerse ourselves in sin and become miserable. For centuries we wondered around waiting for redemption crying out as St. Paul: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24)

No one on earth could save us from sin. None of the angels could freeus from this bondage to death. The only way for humanity to be released from the bondage of sin, death and slavery to the devil was for death to be removed; death had to be destroyed.

And then there was the Good News: “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” (1Cor. 15:21) And this man who brings about the resurrection is our Lord Jesus Christ. Being God and equal to the Father, He lowered Himself and took up our fallen nature that He might heal it. He died on the Cross in His humanity so that He might raise it up again and defeat our enemy – death; for having defeated sin through His sinlessness, the last enemy remaining that had to be destroyed was death. (cf. 1Cor. 15:26)

Pascha is the celebration of the destruction of death and the release of humanity from this bondage. Pascha is the greatest miracle on behalf of humanity. Pascha is a time to rejoice, for humanity (with God’s help) has become victorious. “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1Cor. 15:54)

St. Chrysostom declares in his Paschal Homily: “Let no one fear death; for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it. He spoiled Hades when he descended thereto. He vexed it even as it tasted of his flesh.”

This is what Pascha is about; it is a victory of humanity over death.
“Hades took a body, and, lo! it discovered God. It took earth, and, behold! it encountered Heaven. It took what it was, and was overcome by what it did not see. O death, where is thy sting? O Hades, where is thy victory? (1Cor. 15:55) Christ is risen, and you are annihilated. Christ is risen, and the evil ones are cast down. Christ is risen, and the Angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life is liberated. Christ is risen, and the tomb is emptied of the dead; for Christ, having risen from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those that have fallen asleep. To him be glory and power forever and ever. Amen” (Paschal Homily of St. Chrysostom)

Join us, brothers and sisters, to celebrate the destruction of death and our liberation from it. Join us, that you may share in this joy!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Fr. Panayiotis

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