proclamation on Holy Pascha, 2006
the Grace of God, Archbishop of Constantinople,
New Rome, and Ecumenical Patriarch
To the plenitude of the Church
Grace, Peace, and Mercy
From Christ the Saviour, Risen in Glory
"O life, how can you die? How can you dwell
in a tomb?"
Brother concelebrants and pious, God-loving children of
All of Nature, the choirs of angels, the multitudes of
humankind: all are astonished and amazed. The entire
creation stands in fear and trembling in the presence of the
great and unspeakable Mystery of the Holy Passion and the
glorious Resurrection of Christ the Savior, and asks: "How
is it possible that Life, true Life, Life itself, the source
of Life, can die? How can a grave become the dwelling place
of Life, of our Lord Jesus Christ Who said of himself, "I am
the life" (John 14:6)? The answers are revealed to us
in the Resurrection.
Many of the questions asked in days of old remain
unanswered today. What happened then, once and for all, is
repeated without ceasing. The Mystery continues, as does our
wonder. Christ remains for many in our own day "a sign that
is spoken against" (Lk 2:34). He is crucified, but He rises
to life. The Crucified One remains to some a stumbling
block; to others, foolishness (1 Cor 1:23). Some scoff upon
hearing of the Resurrected One (Acts 17:32); others slander
Him (Matt 28: 11-15); but He reigns in the hearts of the
We, the faithful, enjoy a foretaste of the Resurrection.
We live in the Resurrection, not fearing the physical death
of the body because we believe in the Resurrection of Christ
and human beings. We experience it as a reality through our
fellowship with the Saints who, although they died according
to human understanding, in reality live on and communicate
with us and help us in our lives.
The shrill voice of fanaticism, however, which rang out
then and which has been ringing out unceasingly ever since,
continues to cry: "Crucify him, crucify him!" The powerful
ones of this world, who answered such cries with cowardice
and denial of responsibility, continue to reply: "Take him
yourselves and crucify him" (John, 19:6).
Life is risen! Christ is Risen! And we bear witness to
His Resurrection not only by offering rational arguments and
proofs but rather by living our lives in accordance with the
Resurrection. Only then does our witness become credible,
when the Resurrected Christ lives within us, when our entire
being radiates the joy, certainty and peace of the
Certainly, our lives and the life of our natural
environment remain threatened by death. We do not mean here
decay and deterioration in the biological sense, but rather
those types of death and destruction brought about suddenly,
in cruel and violent ways; ways that challenge our
conscience, trivialize the human person, and mangle the
beauty of nature.
We mean, among other things, that death which puts an end
to human life before it even has the chance to see the light
of the sun.
We mean those countless children, who lose their lives
because of poverty, hunger, the lack of even the most basic
medicine, the cruelty of those who have the power to do but
who do not do what is necessary to save these children, the
impudence of the exploiters and corrupters of children's
We mean the victims of daily acts of violence, of
religious, nationalistic, and racial clashes, as well as the
victims of fanaticism and war. Such acts are callously and
uncaringly carried out by those who turn deaf ears to
humanity's call for the end of hostilities and the
establishment of peace throughout the world.
Finally, we mean the plundering of the natural
environment by human beings who, driven by greed and the
lust for profit, violently and cunningly subordinate and
exploit it. Such conduct not only distorts the beauty of
creation given by its Creator but also undermines the
foundations and conditions necessary for the survival of
We mean, in short, those types of life that bear signs of
death, be they spiritual or moral, the consequences of
disordered passions and errors, deprivation or greed, the
trivialization and oppression of life.
Beloved brothers and children in the Lord,
We worship once again this year the Holy Passion of our
Savior Jesus Christ. We know that the teaching about His
death on the cross remains foolishness for those who remain
unbelieving and who go the way of destruction. It is,
however, the power of God for us who walk in faith the way
of salvation (1 Cor 1:18) in the brilliant light of the
In this power and joy of the Resurrection of Christ, we
respect the life of our fellow human beings. We call for an
end to the killing of one another, and we denounce the
violence and fanaticism that threatens life. The victory of
the Resurrection must be experienced as a victory of life,
of brotherhood, of the future, of hope.
"Christ is Risen, and life reigns.
To Him be glory and dominion unto the ages of ages."
Holy Pascha 2006
+ Bartholomew of Constantinople
your fervent intercessor of all
before the Risen Christ
Protocol No. 379