by Metropolitan of Gortyn and Megalopolis, Ieremias
Jesus Christ, my Christian brothers and sisters, remained in the grave for three days. The first day was Friday. The second was Saturday and then, sometime during the night between Saturday and Sunday- we don’t know precisely when- He rose. That He did so is certain, because, in the first place, the guards at the tomb bore witness; and then there were the appearances He made as the Risen Lord. There were eleven of these, because it was of great importance to confirm His Resurrection to His disciples. This is why He didn’t ascend into heaven immediately after the Resurrection, but remained on earth for forty days, appearing to them and speaking to them about His kingdom (Acts 1, 3).
Christ’s kingdom, concerning which He talked specifically to His disciples after the Resurrection, is for everyone. This is why, when He appeared to the disciples in Galilee, He said to them ‘Go out and teach all the nations’ (Matth. 28, 19). All the nations! It should grieve us, my Christian friends, that there are nations, whole hosts of people, who haven’t heard the message of Christ Crucified, Our Risen Lord. But even worse is that there are people who have, indeed, heard the message of redemption but won’t accept it.
And worst of all, are some of our own people, some of our most prominent citizens, who, in an Orthodox country, shamelessly boast that they don’t believe in God. And they’re not joking, as they prove through their actions: they’ve set themselves the task of rooting out good people’s beliefs and are determined to get rid of the Orthodox faith from our schools. They’re a sorry sight and should be condemned on all sides. They live in Greece, they’ve heard about the true faith and seen the miracles that it’s brought about. Yet, blind and with souls of stone, they remain atheists and detractors.
But don’t fear. The light of the Risen Christ is powerful and it’s our wish that it will illumine everyone, atheists, infidels and detractors alike, so that they, too, may kneel with us before the Victor over death, our Crucified and Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, recognizing Him, as we said, as the true God, the only Saviour and Redeemer of the world.
[His Eminence is referring specifically to the situation in Greece, but readers will recognize that the points he makes apply to other countries as well, particularly America and Western Europe, where Christianity is under sustained bombardment from a variety of secularist forces]