One of the most important ministries of the Church throughout its history has been providing spiritual care to the sick. The Ecumenical Patriarchate has always being sensitive to the needs of this ministry from the years of the Byzantine Empire up until now. Its clergy are active in providing pastoral care to the ill, both on a parish level and in specialized facilities. read more...
May 28, 2021
The unexpected pandemic
the unexpected event of the Resurrection
“We celebrate the death of death,
the destruction of Hades, the beginning of eternal life.”
This year’s Paschal celebration, as the one before, is different from those of the past. The global pandemic that has brought such infliction upon us that it has negated all that we had taken for granted in our life, every sense of normality and harmony. That which prevails us during this complex time is fear, anguish, and social disharmony. With one eye, we gaze towards hope, praying that this disheartening situation will soon end; with the other eye, we gaze towards the unknown. The pandemic brought to surface the deep existential concerns that having been harboring in the inner depths of every human soul; issues regarding life and death and those regarding the discord the subtly exists amongst us. It raised the crucial questions regarding the meaning of life and the values that designate the way we live. It brings us before the dilemma concerning what type of world we want to pass on to our children when we depart from this life. It challenges the way we deal with death. Conclusively, it forces us to come to terms with what, and in who we believe. Questions, problems, and dilemmas that continually are raised in all the stages of human life.
The Lord’s disciples were seeking a Savior, a Messiah who would give answers to vital questions and dilemmas about God, life and death. They wanted someone to change their lives and their world by establishing a new kingdom, a type of utopian society. They had never dreamed that there would be a cross, martyrdom and death. Christ reversed this expectation by His way of life, His teaching, and mainly His Crucifixion. That which finally changed everything was the unexpected event of His Resurrection. Henceforth, after the Lord’s Resurrection, nothing has been the same in the world as it was before. All the factors of the world, life’s meaning and values that give life significance have changed.
The Cross, the empty Tomb and the Resurrection unite all with the infinite, unconditional and unlimited love of God. With the Resurrection, the world becomes a new creation without the barriers. Now love is the redeeming factor that constitutes life. The light of love that shines from the empty Tomb dissolves human tragedy that is caused by fear, hatred, untruth, and individual gains, as expressed in all of the facets of life. The Resurrected Lord appears to the fearful Disciples and reassures them saying “Peace be to you”. He gives them the Holy Spirit so that they will remain united, just as He is united with the Father. Then, He sends the Disciples into the world to preach the Word and to proclaim the good tidings of great joy. All the hateful powers of the world that destroy human relations and bring death upon life will not prevail! Christ is Risen! Life has been given a way whereby people can co-exist within the boundaries of authentic and genuine relationships in God’s grace (“kai e zoi polytévetai”). With the Resurrection of the God-Man, a new Cosmos has been consecrated.
The unexpected pandemic that has fallen upon us gives us the opportunity to discover, what was for the Disciples, the unexpected Resurrection. In doing so, we will be able to re-evaluate the meaning and values of life and our relationships within the love that is granted upon us by God. The question which we must ask ourselves is if we are ready to accept the invitation of the Resurrected Lord to enjoy the symposium of love; if we are ready to take on the responsibility that every authentic, genuine, and true loving relationship holds; if we are ready to be crucified and resurrected with the Lord so that the world might be saved. If we accept this invitation, we must know that we must struggle in one spirit to dissolve every discord which separates and divides us so that we will remain united as the “Body of Christ”.
Christ is Risen! May the unwaning light of the Resurrection shine in everyone’s heart. May it disperse the darkness that has come upon us due to the Pandemic and every darkness of this world that torments all of Mankind. May it bring celebration to all those that are overtaken by the “night” of gloom and sorrow. May it soothe the pain of our fellow men and women that are ill, that remain confined to their homes or are being hospitalized, together with those that remain in agony regarding their beloved ones. May it bring delight to those that are lonely in various ways, and may it enlighten our existence so that our world will remain bright and full of joy as we have envisioned it.
METROPOLITAN KYRILLOS OF RHODES,
PRESIDENT OF THE PATRIARCHAL NETWORK
FOR PASTORAL HEALTH CARE