The joy of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ overwhelms the hearts of all. In the garden of Gethsemane, the Lord Jesus went to pray and, while praying, the sweat of His face became like a shawl of blood. But returning to His disciples, He found them sleeping and scolded them three times. After His third prayer, He woke them up and said to them: “Let us go, the hour has come.” Which hour? The hour of the redemption and salvation of the entire human race; the hour when His holy sufferings began. May we always, every single day of our lives, have before our eyes the love of our God for people!
To love means to live the life of the other. Throughout Holy Week, man encounters the love of God and lays his life at the feet of Christ, which means returning our life to the One who gave it to us.
The Orthodox faith very closely unites the Descent into Hades – represented in the Orthodox icon of our Lord’s Resurrection – and the Resurrection, which shows that for Christians, true joy is sober, without euphoria, without losing one’s self-awareness, without expressing it outwardly except when sharing it with others. The Descent into Hades primarily meant the joy of the meeting between those in hades with the Bridegroom Whom they were waiting for.
We need to respect everyone, to receive our neighbor as a gift from God to us, for whom we are responsible. We need to confess to cleanse our souls, and thus to better know God and what our Creator has put in each of us. Let us respect our family, the parents and the children given to us by God, Who had faith in you when He entrusted them to you. Raise them so that they will recognize and love Him as Father. Let us respect the faith, cultivating it in ourselves and in our neighbors. Let us not forget to love and, when we do wrong, to repent. War only comes when the fire of malice, of the lack of love grows and turns into hatred between nations and between the children of the same nation. Let us love humility. Stefan is great because he was humble. Let us commune of the Risen Christ and the joy of the Holy Pascha will be with us always. Let us respect our past and our role models – without them, we will be a leaf fluttering in the wind.
We do not deny the merits of other peoples, but “home”, for us Romanians, is Romania. Make the effort and come home. You might have some regrets, but you will not regret raising your children at home. All the doubts that are planted in our hearts by fashionable theories, that fight with various forms against God, melt away when we meet a man of God. The holy man, the man who made himself the abode of God, is the greatest miracle on this earth.
Our God is the God of our fathers. Our parents and ancestors did not live on this earth believing in fairy tales, but believing in the Living God, Who was at work in their lives. It was this faith that gave them the strength to endure.
I offer you another counsel; be present at services of the Church. Nowhere will you find the true teachings set forth as in the prayers of the Church. Live more intensely and listen to what is being sung and spoken. You will learn why we live on earth, for God did not create us carelessly.
Our deeds and prayer must be a light for the person next to us. When we pray for him, his soul is enlightened, and we are enriched. Let us learn to support our neighbor, to pray for the afflicted, to know how to be by his side. Prayer and kindness will always appease Heaven and make you healthy. Our health depends very much on the inner prayer. If God permits any weakness, then know how to run to His mercy and to have faith.
Be rich inside! Be beautiful in your souls! Look upon Christ with clear eyes! For only by looking at Him will your eyes be clear and serene; a clean and dignified look for your neighbor, a gaze full of love.
Archimandrite Melchisedec Velnic,
Abbot of Putna Monastery
From the homily spoken on the night of Holy Pascha, 2022