PATRIARCH EASTER MESSAGE IN 2024

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies! Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Deacons and Laity of The Anglocatholic Church in the world in 31 countries ministered by 30 Bishops, 194 Priests, and 84 Deacons in all continents.

One of the two major theologians of the 20th Century – Paul Tillich, has used several times a phrase  God is the other. By this he meant that God is very different from our Aristotellian thinking, our common thinking, the way we think. We cannot approach Him with our own ideas.

After crucifixion, and burial and resurrection from the dead, the first people who met Him were women. In the Gospel according to Saint John it is said that Mary the Magdalene was the first to meet Him after resurrection. But in Israeli courts of first century women’s testimony did not count.

After being born into this world as a baby, the first who came to meet Jesus, were the shepherds. But in Israeli court of the first century the witness of the shepherds did not count.

How Jesus was conceived nobody saw it, how Jesus rose from the dead, nobody saw it. After resurrection the burial cloth remained in the grave as Jesus had simply diasappeared from it. And today seeing the Holy Shroud of Turin, which is probably the burial cloth of Jesus, his figure on the cloth is in negative! What does this mean? In 1839, Sir John Herschel came up with a way of making the first glass negative. The same year he coined the term photography, deriving from the Greek “fos” meaning light and “grafo“—to write. Even though the process became easier and the result was better, it was still a long time until photography was publicly recognized. But here – over 1,800 years before, we have negative of dead Jesus! What?

Remember Paul Tillich and God is the other. This is exactly the reason many people have great difficulties with the Biblical stories and with Jesus Christ. With our best human understanding Jesus was 1) a lunatic, 2) a liar; or 3) he who claimed himself to be. And if do put aside Him as lunatic and liar, then there is no other way to say, that Jesus was, is and will be Whom he claimed, claims and will claim to be! No other way!

For many people today Jesus was a philosophical leader. Or miracle maker. But why the first miracle was making 700 litres of wine? Is this the style of a great thinker? Remember – God is the other!

Or some Christians cannot understand that when Jesus appointed the Apostles, the basic framework of the Church was there already. Before Jesus went to Heaven, the structure was there. But before the Pentecost could happen, selecting an apostle had to be done before, structure had to be in place. Acts begins with chapter One, not with Chapter two.

Yes, women were the first witnesses of the resurrection of Christ, but this did not make them the first bishops and priests, as the shepherds visiting baby Jesus did not become the first bishops and priests. Actually the first bishops were selected by Jesus Himself before His sufferings, death and resurrection. One day at Caesarea Philippi He said: „You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church“ (Matthew 16:18).

Virgin Mary became the Mother of God, theotokos, but not the first Archbishop of the Christian Church. Remember again – God is the other, said by Paul Tillich.

In Exodus 3:13 Moses asks from God His name, and God answers – „I AM WHO I AM“. Or I AM WHAT I AM or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE. Even tertagram YHWH does not fully solve this issue. How it was said? Maybe God protects us not to use His name in vain? Because every time the readers saw tetragram, they read THE LORD. Maybe it is good that we fully even do not know the name of our God. God is the other!

Great evangelist E. Stanley Jones had said: „It is unnatural for the Christian not to believe in the impossible.“

At this Easter time we read again the Creeds of the Church, and this is enough for us to get saved and to know about God who saved us.

Sometimes it is difficult for Christians in this world. But remember – we are Easter people in this Good Friday world. And we are not from this world! We are from the world of Easter!

CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED! CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

In His Mercy,

Ego Patriarcha H.

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