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 Chancery Offices will be closed from Holy Wednesday to Bright Tuesday.  We wish everyone a joyous and blessed Pascha


Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Reading Psalms
Reading Psalms
Reading Psalms

Christ is risen!  Indeed He is risen!  We will hear that phrase over and over again for the next forty days.  We love that phrase, for it tells us that Christ has been victorious over sin and death.  It tells us that, as St John Chrysostom says, “Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the grave!”  This message of resurrection from the grave is for everyone and all times.  It speaks to us of our own hope, and our own promise of salvation.  But it is not a private promise, but a promise to be shared with everyone we encounter during the Paschal tide.

As soon as one says, “Christ is risen”, another answers, “Indeed He is risen!”  It is a phrase that demands the involvement of at least two people, if not an entire church.  Last year, during this Paschal time, there was a soccer match in an Orthodox country, and in that packed stadium whole sections were crying out “Christ is risen!” to which the other sections would reply, “Indeed He is risen!”  Even if they were fiercely rooting for one team to defeat the other, as Orthodox Christians they all shared in that glorious news of the annihilation of death by Christ’s saving work.

In Orthodoxy, there is no “I” in salvation.  No hymn sung at this time uses first person singular pronouns.  No one brags of his or her being saved, but over and over we sing about our being brought to salvation, to eternal life, by Christ’s saving work.  We even sing about loving and embracing even those who hate us:

This is the Resurrection Day!

Let us be enlightened by this Feast

and let us embrace one another!

Let us call "Brethren" even those who hate us,

and in the Resurrection, forgive everything and let us sing:

Christ is risen from the dead!

By death he trampled death

and to those in the tombs he granted life!  [Last Paschal Stichera]

In the Resurrection, let us “forgive EVERYTHING!!”  What could be more important for us than to be willing to forgive every single offense we have felt at the hands of others, both those whom we love, and those who dislike us (shall we not be honest and also say, for those who we have hated?).  After all, Our Lord asked to pray this constantly in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us, as we forgive those who offend us”.

Beloved, it is not just about our “being saved” all the time.  It is about how we live in looking towards that Salvation.  One of my favorite quotes is from St Nicholai of Zicha, when he addressed the Student Christian Movement during World War I.  He was invited to speak to the students in Belgrade and Nish.  In that speech he said the following, “We can be saved only in the plural, not in the singular; only collectively, not as individuals:  i.e. we can be saved, but I cannot be saved.  I cannot be saved without thee, and thou canst be saved without me.”[1]

This past week I was reminded of this when we saw the tragic attack on the Christians in Sri Lanka.  What a horrible act of violence.  What unspeakable carnage on innocent people gathered to worship God as Christians (check the news reports, see how many times you see the word “Christian” in the reports, not often).  Yes, those perpetrators hate us.  But our answer must not be to hate them.  It must be in the joy of Christ’s Resurrection that we find the joy of Our Lord overcoming that hate.  And in our Lords overcoming of hate, we will find our own victory over hate and sin and death. 

We will find it together, not separately.  We will join together singing over and over again the Paschal Troparion, and greeting each other with this most wonderful and perfect phrase.  Full of meaning, full of life, and full of love for all!

Christ is risen from the dead!

By death he trampled death

and to those in the tombs he granted life!

I pray you all have the joy of the Feast of the Holy Resurrection of Christ with you at all times throughout the year. 

With love in the Risen Christ, your servant of Servants,

+ David, Bishop of Sitka and Alaska

 

[1] Velimirovich, Nicholaj.  The Agony of the Church.  www.whitedogpublishing.com, First edition.  P. 79.

Scholarships for Orthodox Christian Scouts
Scholarships for Orthodox Christian Scouts
ASTORIA, NY [EOCS] — The Eastern Orthodox Committee on Scouting {{{LINK TO https://www.eocs.org/}}} [EOCS] is offering up to two $1,000.00 scholarships to Orthodox Christian scouts who demonstrate love of God and the Orthodox Christian Faith through their service, scholarship, leadership, and practical citizenship in their churches, schools, scouting units, and communities.
 
The EOCS is an agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops of the United States of America {{{LINK TO http://www.assemblyofbishops.org/}}} and the officially recognized Eastern Orthodox religious committee for all scouting organizations in the USA.  It provides support, programs, and recognition of service and faith development to scouts and scouters of the Eastern Orthodox faith via the religious award program, adult recognition for volunteer scouters and clergy, scholarships, retreats, “camporees,” and associated activities.
 
Scholarships are contingent upon acceptance to an accredited four-year college or university.  Eligible scouts should be registered active members of an EOCS-recognized scouting program --Scouts BSA, Venturing, Exploring, Girl Scouts of the USA, Trail Life USA, American Heritage Girls, and Camp Fire -- and communicants of parishes recognized by the Assembly of Bishops, having earned the highest award of an EOCS-recognized Scouting program (e.g., Eagle, Gold).  Explorers and Venturers must have attained Eagle Scout.  They also should have earned the EOCS Alpha Omega Religious Award and be enrolled in the final year of an accredited high school.  Home-schooled students should contact the Scholarship Chairman for guidance in completing the application.
 
Detailed information and applications {{{LINK TO www.EOCS.org/scholarship}}} are available online and must be submitted no later than May 1, 2019.  Scholarship recipients will be announced on June 1.
 
Enquiries may be directed to Dr. M. E. Kotsonis, EOCS Scholarship Chairman, at mekotsonis@gmail.com

2018 All American Council Diocesan Video
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Diocese of Sitka & Alaska
7031 Howard Ave
Anchorage, AK 99504
907-677-0224

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