уторак, 18. април 2023.

Paschal Encyclical 2023


Serbian True Orthodox Church

Paschal Encyclical 2023

Hierarchical Council of the STOC

Under the chairmanship of His Grace Akakije, Bishop of Uteshiteljevo

To All the Faithful Children of St Sava’s Church

We congratulate You on the Feast of Feasts,

The Radiant Resurrection of Christ:



Blessed is he who has not seen but believed.” -John 20:29


These words of the risen Lord, which were first directed at the apostle Thomas, who had refused to believe the apostolic witness of the Resurrection until he had seen the Risen Lord and touched His resurrected body, are also directed at us who did not witness His resurrection with our physical eyes.

These words are directed to all of us who are separated from the resurrection in time by twenty centuries. Blessed are we because we have not seen but we believe! This blessedness denotes the great spiritual grace gifted to us from the Lord for our faith in His resurrection.

Death and sin have made man experience life in the world as bitter and a curse, and he cannot escape this feeling until he has been saved from death and sin. We find salvation from sin and death in this blessedness, the faith of the blessed to whom the Risen Lord revealed the unmistakable path of rescue from sin and death. Blessed are those who have not seen but believe.

The holy apostles, they who saw with their eyes and touched with their own hands (1 John 1:1),   proclaimed this faith so that we who have not seen can believe and be in communion with those who have seen (1John 1:3).

Therefore, the essence of our salvation consists of faith in the resurrection of Christ. Faith in Christ’s Resurrection is the foundation of our faith because if Christ had not risen from the dead, as the Apostle says, then our faith is empty and futile, for we are still in our sins (1 Cor 15:14-17).  Therefore, the Resurrection of Christ is the first, most important, and greatest truth upon which is founded all the apostolic preaching, all of the apostolic faith “which conquers the world” (1 John 5:4).

Just as Christ’s death on the Cross accomplished our salvation, so His resurrection granted us immortality. The resurrection of Christ opened the way for us to the universal resurrection and entry into the eternal blessedness of the Kingdom of Heaven.

If Christ is not resurrected, then He did not die either, says the great St John Chrysostom. If He did not die, then He did not destroy sin, for only His death could destroy sin, as it has been said: “Behold, the Lamb of the God which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).  In what way did He take away sin?  Through His death.  That is why He is called the Lamb, because He had to be slaughtered.  If He did not resurrect, then neither was He slaughtered.  If He was not slaughtered, then sin has not been destroyed and we are still in our sins. If we are still in our sins, then the apostolic preaching is in vain, and if the preaching is in vain, then we believe in vain.  If Christ is not risen, then death is not defeated. If death is not defeated, then it is still immortal.

Christ’s greatest victory was His resurrection from the dead. The resurrection confirmed above all His all-powerful Divinity.  The resurrection of Christ left the stamp for all time of His victory over sin and death.

The resurrection of Christ, therefore, is not only the main element of our faith, our blessedness, and our salvation, but also our greatest celebration, the never-silent triumph which reaches its apex on the feastday of the victory over hades, sin and death – the feastday of the Resurrection of Christ.

Faith in the resurrection of Christ is faith in eternal life.  “He that believeth on the Son [born, crucified, resurrected and coming again in glory] hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (Jn 3:36).

Brothers and Sisters, remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead (2 Tim 2:8): remember the Resurrection of Christ as the foundation of our holy faith, and love that faith, nurture it and strive to live by it.




On Pascha, 2023 AD

Your intercessors before the Risen Christ,

+Akakije, Bishop of Uteshiteljevo

+Nektarije, Bishop of Shumadia

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