ΑΙ ΠΑΣΧΑΛΙΑΙ ΕΠΙΣΚΕΨΕΙΣ ΤΩΝ ΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΙΚΩΝ ΕΚΚΛΗΣΙΩΝ ΕΙΣ ΤΟ ΠΑΤΡΙΑΡΧΕΙΟΝ

Τήν Τρίτην, 17ην /30ήν Ἀπριλίου 2019, ἔλαβον χώραν αἱ ἐπισκέψεις ἐπί τῷ Πάσχᾳ ἡμῶν τῶν Χριστιανικῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν καί ὁμολογιῶν, ἤτοι πρῶτον τοῦ τάγματος τῶν Φραγκισκανῶν – Κουστωδίας τῆς Ἁγίας Γῆς, ἔπειτα ὅλων τῶν ἄλλων Ἐκκλησιῶν καί Κοινοτήτων, ἤτοι τοῦ Λατινικοῦ Πατριαρχείου, τῶν Ἀνατολικῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν, Συριάνων, Κοπτῶν, Αἰθιόπων καί τῶν Προτεσταντῶν, Λουθηρανῶν καί ἄλλων.

Πρός τήν Κουστωδίαν τῆς Ἀδελφότητος τῶν Φραγκισκανῶν προσεφώνησεν ὁ Μακαριώτατος ἀγγλιστί ὡς ἕπεται:

“Your Paternity, dear Father Francesco,
Your Eminences,
Your Graces,
Beloved Members of the our Respective Brotherhoods,
Dear Fathers,
Christ is risen!
We welcome you, dear Father Francesco, and your Brothers, to our Patriarchate and we thank you for your greetings to us

in this joyous season of light and life. This is the time of rejoicing, as we sing;
Rejoice, O peoples, and be glad.
An angel sat upon the stone of the tomb;
He himself proclaimed the glad tidings unto us saying:
Christ is risen from the dead, the Saviour of the world,
and he has filled all things with frangrance.
Rejoice, O peoples, and be glad.
(From Matins of Bright Week)
As we keep this Paschal celebration, we do so in a world that has seen, in the last six weeks, the evidence of hatred and violence against a synagogue, churches, and mosques in three different countries. This rash of violence against places of worship at the holiest time of the year for the three Abrahamic traditions is a cause of deep concern, and in the light of the resurrection we are compelled to affirm our condemnation of all violence against religious groups. Attacks on places of worship are particularly grievous, and there can be no justification for such acts of brutality against those who have gathered for worship.
For according to the Gospel of Saint John, we read this warning. “Indeed, an hour is coming when those who kill you will think by doing so they are offering worship to God” (John, 16:2).
The cycle of the great feasts here in Jerusalem and the Holy Land are a reminder to the world that everyone is embraced here. The great feast of Easter is not a cultural phenomenon of one group, but a declaration that light and freedom come from the empty tomb, and that life does not stop here: there is an eternal dimension to life and the human person.
Easter is the great inclusive feast par excellence. It is not a private matter, but it has a deeper meaning  and a deeper mission to reveal the fundamental unity of the human family in a common destiny. 

The feast of Easter, is therefore, the answer of God to the violence and despair of the world. For by raising our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, God the Father has brought to an end the enmity that divides the human family.
This Holy City, and we who live and minister here, along with the countless pilgrims who have been with us for this holy season, are living evidence of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. By our diakonia and our witness, the world may see and know the new life that is born at Easter – a new life that is open to all without distinction. For as we read in the Gospel of Matthew, our Lord Jesus Christ says;
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt. 18:20).
MAY God grant to you dear Father Francesco, the members of your community, and the communities that you serve, the joy of this new life.
Christ is risen!
Thank you”.

Πρός τούς Ἀρχηγούς τῶν λοιπῶν Χριστιανικῶν Ἐκκλησιῶν ὁ Μακαριώτατος προσεφώνησεν ἀγγλιστί ὡς ἕπεται:

“Your Beatitudes,
Your Excellences,
Your Eminences,
Your Graces,
Dear Fathers,
Christ is risen!
We greet you in this joyful season of Easter, and we thank you for your greetings. This is a time of universal celebration, and we sing these words this week at Vespers in the Orthodox Church;
Going doing to those in Hades,
Christ proclaimed the glad tidings, saying:
Take courage, I have conquered now;
I am the resurrection;
Having destroyed the gates of death,
I shall lead you up.
(From Vespers, Bright Monday)
As those to whom the pastoral leadership of the Churches and Christian Communities of the Holy Land have been entrusted, we must never lose hold of the courage that comes to us through the resurrection. This is especially important as we see an increase in acts of violence against so many religious groups, but especially against Christians. Such acts of violence and persecution are not confined to certain countries only; Christians face real challenges everywhere.
What are the real challenges? The fact that we testify to the truth of the Gospel. As we read in St. John’s Gospel, our Lord Jesus Christ says, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”. And Pilate asked Him “What is truth” (John 18:37-38). We have evidence of this truth.
Our witness – our martyria – here in the Holy Land is to this courage that our Lord Jesus Christ gives to us by his resurrection. This is the courage to proclaim a message of peace, reconciliation, mutual respect, and the universal embrace of Jerusalem, where all of humanity finds a home. Fear-mongering, violence, and persecution are the tools of the frightened: love is the response of the courageous.
We live in a world in which the true reasons for faith and belief are distorted and used in a negative way. Radical religious groups use faith for their own ends, rather than for the true freedom that comes from God, and our mission here is to remain faithful to the message of the Gospel that guarantees light and freedom to the human family, for our Lord says, “I am the way, and the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is, at its heart, the ultimate act of a compassionate God who fully sympathizes with our human condition. As we read in the Letter to the Hebrews, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). This is the true significance both for the incarnation and the resurrection, which is itself the crown of creation.
Let this holy and bright celebration of Pascha renew us in courage, so that we MAY be steadfast in our mission in Jerusalem and in the Holy Land. And MAY it renew us in our commitment to speak with a united voice and with mutual respect and harmony.
MAY God bless you all and the communities you serve, and MAY the uncreated light of the eternal Logos, that shines from the tomb, always warm our hearts and illumine our minds.
Christ is risen!
Thank you”.

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