Πέμπτη, 18 Απριλίου 2013

If Christ is not Risen... (1 Cor. 14:15) Resurrection. Christ. Antichrist. PASCHAL ENCYCLICAL By Metropolitan Sotirios



“If Christ is not risen, then our preaching is in vain and our faith is also.” So, if Christ is not risen, then our message is without any meaning and our faith without any significance.
In these words, the Apostle Paul tells us plainly that the proof of the divinity of Christ is His resurrection. His Resurrection from the dead verifies His divinity.
Today, many people doubt the Resurrection of Christ. This is not only true of non-Christians, but even of some who call themselves “Christians”. These types of “Christians” speak of a “spiritual resurrection of Christ”. Without realizing it, some of them go further and say that Christ was simply an excellent philosopher. A wise teacher. A person filled with love, devoid of any hatred. With these words, though, they doubt the divinity of Jesus Christ.
St. John the Evangelist and Theologian is the only one who describes the Antichrist. If we study diligently that which St. John the Evangelist says about the Antichrist, one can come to a simple conclusion: the Antichrist is the one who denies the divinity of Christ. Whoever denies the Resurrection of Christ also denies the divinity of Christ. Therefore, this person is a type of ‘antichrist.’
My beloved Christians: The Resurrection of Christ is an historical event. Historians speak of the event. The Apostles also detail the event, saying, “We speak of what we saw. This is what we have heard. This is what we have examined. This is what we have lived.” The Apostles saw the Resurrected Christ. They heard Him. They conversed with Him. They examined Him. They ate with Him. They lived His Resurrection. They had no doubts of His Resurrection and His divinity. The Apostle Thomas proclaimed that he would never believe unless he placed his fingers in the print of the nails and his hand in the Lord’s side.  But once he saw and heard the Risen Lord speaking to him, he proclaimed  characteristically, “My Lord and my God.”
This same Resurrected Christ will come again. He will come in glory. He, who is the Lord of the Heavens and the earth. He will command all those who have died throughout the ages to rise from the dead. Finally, He will judge every person on their faith and their actions. After His Just Judgment, there will follow everlasting life in eternal glory or eternal punishment.
All of us – you who listen to me and I who speak to you – are Christians. We should be watchful, though, so we do not become willingly or unwillingly ‘antichrists’. With all our hearts, beloved Christians, let us believe in the divinity of Christ. In the Resurrection of Christ. In our resurrection on the Final Day. In eternal and everlasting life, participating in the unending glory and bliss of God.
Christ rose from the dead. With the Father and the Holy Spirit, they are the Triune God. God of true God. The Christ. The only Redeemer and Saviour of the world. There is no other. All the false prophets and pseudo-philosophers can say whatever they wish, but only Christ is the Truth.
May we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ - today and forever!  Uniting our voices with St. John Chrysostom, let us exclaim: “Christ is Risen, and Hades is overthrown! Christ is Risen, and demons are fallen! Christ is Risen and the angels rejoice! Christ is Risen and life reigns! Christ is Risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and bestowing life to those in the tombs. To Him is due all glory and the Kingdom unto the ages of ages.” Amen!

With fatherly love and blessings in the Risen Lord,
  
Metropolitan Archbishop Sotirios
Head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Canada

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