: Paschal Epistle of His Grace George, Bishop of Sydney Australia & New Zealand

Paschal Epistle
Bishop George of Sydney,
Australia & New Zealand

Pascha, 2024

Beloved in the Lord, Clergy and Faithful

of the Australian and New Zealand Diocese!

 Christ is Risen!

With these joyous words all Orthodox Christians greet one another, reminding each other of Christ’s victory over death and the destruction of the gates of Hades, thereby freeing mankind from slavery to sin and the Evil One. Now all of creation rejoices and is exultant, the angelic powers and all of mankind, in heaven and on earth, because of Christ’s resurrection. “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein.”

We hear in the Paschal canon, sung for the Feast day and throughout the forty days of the feast: “O come all ye faithful, let us worship Christ’s holy Resurrection. For behold, through the Cross joy has come to all the world. Ever blessing the Lord, let us praise His Resurrection. By enduring the Cross for us, He has destroyed death by death.” In this hymn the Church reminds us of the importance of the Cross in our salvation: without the Cross there would be no Resurrection! Christ our Saviour was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” so that our human nature might be freed from the bonds of hell; and then He raised it up to sit at the right hand of God the Father. For us to be partakers of this great blessing we also must be obedient, humbly bearing whatever cross God has given us – “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24);  and loving God and our neighbour— “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (Matt. 22: 37, 39). By fulfilling these commandments of God we will be cleansing our hearts from sin and the passions, thereby making ourselves worthy of receiving God’s grace and experiencing the great joy of the Resurrection of Christ.

Let us all make every effort to obey the commandments of Christ and follow the example of the Holy Apostles and all the saints, so that the Light of Christ may shine in the world around us, the world darkened so much now by sin and confusion.

I sincerely greet all of you, the clergy, monastics, parishioners, and all worshippers in the churches of our diocese, with the grace-filled feast of Christ’s Holy Resurrection! May the peace of Christ be with you!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

+ George
Bishop of Sydney & 
Australia-New Zealand