By the grace of God Archbishop of Australia
To all the Clergy and devout faithful
of our Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
Brother Concelebrants and beloved children in the Risen Lord,
Having conducted, as a worshipping Church, all that our sanctified Orthodox Tradition has entrusted to us, taught us and experienced throughout centuries, we dare to have a foretaste of the peace which is promised to the faithful through the Resurrection from the dead. We do so in awe of God, and in spite of all that is impiously occurring around us at present.
We know from the outset, however, through the indisputable word of Scripture, that the peace of God "which passes all understanding" (Phil. 4:7) has nothing to do with the conditions and devices that human hypocrisy calls 'peace'.
We do not require proof that the world - the whole world (!) - "lies under the power of the evil one" (1 Jn 5:19). We experience this on a daily basis, each in his own way. We also see it in the modern 'globalised' world of technology and terrorism!
The degree to which we lack the very things we urgently seek (stable peace, untainted justice, worldwide good will) can be evaluated only by the 'sensitivity' of the individual faithful who is vigilant and afflicted, and who naturally seeks consolation in the prayer of silent solitude (cf. Matt. 6:6).
We falsely and misleadingly call groups of people 'societies', whereas the unbiased observer can see that they are divided into rivalling 'sub-groups' and continually changing 'factions'. We therefore have communities without 'communion', heresies and schisms!
Even divinely-instituted Christianity of the Martyrs and Confessors, which struggled to the point of shedding blood so as to 'transform' the entire world, through the Cross of Christ alone, was eventually betrayed and given over to the deceit of 'this world'. It thereby became even lower and more materialistic than primitive idolaters!
It is a mystical law of divine Providence that the higher God's undeserved grace raises somebody, the greater the fall when this grace is absent.
Only in this way could 'primacy' of power and highly irreverent notions of 'infallibility' have taken form within historic Christianity, while hidden due to the cunning plots to subjugate the human person!
It is time to finally admit, with the freedom we have as children of God - granted to us by the saving death of the only Sinless one on the Cross - that even the most miserable of Roman Emperors could not have imagined such 'methods', let alone consecrate them! They just managed to be ridiculed throughout the centuries by 'deifying' themselves!
Such tragic failures of historic Christianity are of course not only seen in the West, as they have unfortunately been copied also in the East - and poorly at that! Therefore we cannot possibly glorify worthily the Risen Lord who suffered for us, except through repentance and contrition.
Recent talk about 'catharsis' and indeed 'self-purification', for the renewal and regeneration of those who administer the Church, have absolutely nothing to do with 'repentance' in Christ.
Furthermore, the chanting of 'Christ is Risen' provocatively during the recent funeral of the Pope by those who persist in the deceit of Uniatism was an unbearable mockery, especially during a worship service. For, if we do not live the rest of the hymn which states 'by death trampling upon death', then our singing of 'Christ is Risen' is in vain.
The challenging question, then, for all Christians is as follows:
How many of us, in both East and West, are prepared to seek the peace and joy of the Resurrection, but only through the death of our individual and collective 'love of self'?
The Apostle Paul is definitive on this point also:
But if we have died with Christ, we believe
that we shall also live with Him
knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again,
death no longer has dominion over Him
The death He died, He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives,
He lives to God" (Rom. 6:7-10)
Our 'uncatechised' people have allowed this astonishing passage about life and death in Christ to be distorted, in so far as they use the arbitrarily mutilated phrase 'he who has died is justified' (!) as a popular saying.
Who would have thought that we would have 'thrown out' the most essential portion of the phrase, namely the second part ("from sin"), which alone makes the first half meaningful?
Only when freed "from sin", by being buried and raised together with Christ, can we be consoled and redeemed from the fallen world of corruption and apostasy.
For this precise reason, the entire body of faithful rightly exclaim the following confession with adoration and gratitude towards the Risen Christ:
With fervent prayers in the Risen Christ
Archbishop S T Y L I A N O S