Ss Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Church Ss Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Church
An Orthodox Christian community on the campus of UW-Madison

+ B A R T H O L O M E W

By God’s Mercy Archbishop of Constantinople-New Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch

To the Plenitude of the Church: May the Grace, Peace and Mercy of Christ Risen in Glory be with you All

Most honorable brother Hierarchs,

Dearly beloved children,

Having arrived with God’s grace at the all-saving Resurrection of the Lord, through which the power of death was abolished and the gates of paradise were opened to the entire human race, we address to all of you our paschal greetings and heartfelt wishes, as we proclaim the cry “Christ is Risen” that gives joy to the world.

In all of its dimensions, the life of the Church is invigorated by the ineffable joy of the Resurrection. The “experience of resurrection” is witnessed in the labors of the Saints and Martyrs of our faith, as well as in the liturgical and sacramental life, the proclamation of the Gospel “to the ends of the earth”, the devotion and spirituality of the faithful, their sacrificial love and Christian conduct, but also in their expectation of a world where “death will no longer exist, nor will there be mourning, wailing or suffering” (Rev. 21,4).

In and through the Resurrection, everything lies in a state of motion toward perfection in the Kingdom of God. This eschatological drive has always provided Orthodox Christians in the world with dynamism and perspective. Despite the claims of the opposite, as a result of the eschatological orientation of its life, the Church never compromised with the presence of evil in all its expressions in the world. Nor did it deny the reality of pain and death. Nor again did it ignore the ambiguity of human affairs. And finally, it never considered the struggle for a more just world as something foreign to its mission.

Still though, the Church always knew that pain and the cross are not the ultimate reality. The experiential quintessence of the Christian life is the conviction that, through the Cross and through the “narrow gate”, we are led to the Resurrection. This faith is reflected in the fact that the core of church life, the Divine Eucharist, is essentially linked with the Resurrection of Christ. In the Orthodox tradition, as the late Metropolitan John of Pergamon emphasizes, the Divine Eucharist “is filled with joy and light ... because it is not grounded in the Cross and an idealization of passion, but in the Resurrection as the transcendence of the passion of the Cross”[1]. The Holy Eucharist transports us to Golgotha not so that we may remain there, but so that we may be led through the Cross to the ever-radiant glory of the Kingdom of God. The Orthodox faith is the overcoming of the utopian salvation "without the Cross" and of the existential shipwreck of the Cross "without the Resurrection".

Our participation in the Resurrection of Christ through the sacrament of the Church is on the one hand a tangible abolition of every utopianism and of the false paradise promising unimpeded self-indulgence, while at the same time a definitive transcendence of hopeless self-enslavement in supposed unsurpassable negativity, because the Cross of Christ gives birth to the Resurrection, to the “endless delight”, to “the enjoyment of eternal glory”. The annihilation of death through the Cross and Resurrection of our Savior elevates our life to its divine-human essence and its heavenly destiny.

In Christ, we know and live that the present life is not our entire life, that our biological death does not constitute an end or obliteration of our existence. The biological boundaries of life do not define its truth. After all, the sense that life is an irreversible “journey toward death” leads to existential impasses, to depression and nihilism, to indifference for what truly matters in life. Science, and financial or social progress are unable to offer an essential solution or outlet. Christians are “those who have hope” (1Thess. 4,13), who expect the coming Kingdom of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit as a final reality, as the fullness of life and knowledge, as the fulfilment of joy, not only for the coming generations but for the entire human race from the beginning to the end of the ages.

This vision of history and eternity, the resurrectional nature of Orthodox faith, ethos and culture—namely, the unquestionable fact that the great miracle of Truth is only revealed “to those who venerate the mystery in faith”—is what we are called to witness today within a civilization that rejects the Transcendent and in the context of manifold reductions of the spiritual identity of human existence.

We give glory in chant, hymn and spiritual song to the Lord who rose from the dead and shines eternal life upon all. We participate with joy in “the feast that is common to all”. And we beseech the all-powerful, all-wise and all-merciful Maker and Redeemer of all to bring peace to the world and grant all His saving gifts to humankind, so that His all-honorable and majestic name may be glorified and blessed, now and always and to the ages of ages. Amen!

At the Phanar, Holy Pascha 2023

+Bartholomew of Constantinople

Fervent supplicant for you all to the Risen Lord


[1] See his Eschatology and History: Works 1: Ecclesiological Studies (Athens: Domos Books, 2016), 498.

To the beloved Clergy, Monastics and Faithful entrusted to our spiritual care in the United States of America, South America and the Diaspora, as well as all our beloved Sisters and Brothers in long-suffering Ukraine.

Dear Brothers and Concelebrants in the Vineyard of our Lord and all our Spiritual Children,


“Enjoy you all the Feast of Faith: Receive you all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his wickedness, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He angered it when it tasted of His flesh.

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen! - and you are overthrown. Christ is risen! - and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen! - and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen! - and life reigns. Christ is risen! - and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.”

We live in a world today, dearly beloved, that perhaps has never before been so desperate to hear these words of St. John Chrysostom in his Paschal Sermon, read during Paschal Matins at the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is a world that fails all too often to comprehend the sanctity of life from conception to natural death. It is a world that is all too ready to end life in many ways without even the slightest pangs of conscience. It is a world in which a sovereign nation like Ukraine can be invaded with hundreds of thousands of its citizens – men, women and children – murdered by godless aggressors who hate them simply because they want to live freely and independently in their own culture and spirituality. It is a world where the vast and rapid consumption of God’s abundant blessings – our natural resources, ecological systems, the air we breathe and the water we drink – takes place without responsibly and fully considering the consequences.  And we need not go on…

Yes, this world needs to hear the profoundly beautiful and powerful message:  CHRIST IS RISEN!  We all, dear ones, must proclaim that message from the depth of our hearts and souls.  We must receive that message standing before the doors of our Churches as we sing it together: CHRIST IS RISEN FROM THE DEAD, TRAMPLING DOWN DEATH BY DEATH, AND TO THOSE IN THE TOMBS BESTOWING LIFE!  It is a message that we must internalize.  We must allow the LIGHT that shines forth from the Empty Tomb to fill our very being, our homes, our life, our relationships and all else so that our Paschal declarations will prevail:  “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered and let those to hate Him flee before Him…as smoke vanishes, so shall they vanish as does wax that melts before fire…Let the ungodly perish in the presence of God, but let the righteous rejoice…This is the day, which the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it!”

Only if we, God’s children, can indeed internalize this powerful “Good News” can we hope to influence and bring sense to this world, which He has gifted to us.  We must be the living proof that our Lord lives and loves us so much that “He made divine the (our) flesh that He assumed and honored it on His Throne at the Right Hand of the Father in His Glorious Ascension!” (Third Prayer before Holy Communion) We must trust His desire for us to comprehend that our words, deeds and thoughts must always be in sync with all the rest of His Creation and in accordance to His commandments. We must accomplish this as God’s people – His community – not as isolated individuals who easily falter when faced with even the slightest resistance.  May we embrace one another with this message – not just once each year at PASCHA, but every day of our lives and especially when we journey into His Heavenly Kingdom during each Divine Liturgy.

Our prayers this day and always are for steadfastness in your faith – that having “clothed yourself in Christ” at your Baptism and received the fullness of the Holy Spirit at your Chrismation, you may understand that the Grace continually inspired into your life and being through all the Holy Mysteries will always enable you to be more and to accomplish more than you might have imagined possible for yourself.

May the Grace of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Love of God the Father and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you at all times.  You are in God’s Hands always and you are God’s hands in these important times. “The Father is our Hope, the Son is our Refuge and the Holy Spirit is our Protection.”


By the Grace of God, Metropolitan



By the Grace of God, Archbishop



By the Grace of God, Archbishop


Given this 16th day of April 2023 – THE RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD

Metropolia Center of St. Andrew – South Bound Brook – Somerset, New Jersey

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Ss Cyril & Methodius Orthodox Church
1020 Regent St (Lower Level) Madison, WI 53715