Paschal Encyclical 2016 from Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco

Paschal Encyclical 2016 from Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco


“You, O Christ, Who has destroyed Hades and raised up
mankind by your Resurrection, make us worthy
with pure heart to praise and glorify You.”
–From the Praises of Pascha

Dearly Beloved,

We have completed our Lenten journey and very soon we will find ourselves at the tomb of Christ where He has rested for three days. In this upcoming Holy and Great Week we will have journeyed with Him to Jerusalem and we will witness His Passion. We will see Him extend His arms to accept the life giving Cross. We will hear Him pardon those who crucified Him. We will hear Him grant entry to Paradise to the repentant thief crucified next to Him. And then early in the morning we will, like the women who went to anoint Him, experience His triumphant emergence from the tomb. He has destroyed death and granted life to the world.

In the icon of the Resurrection, our Lord and Savior reaches out to Adam and Eve and lifts them out of their tombs. When they saw Him in Hades, they extended their hands towards Him and the Risen Lord gave them new life. In one ancient text He says to them, “Arise!”. In the Exapostilarion of Pascha we hear how Christ raised up Adam, the first man, from corruption. All of this reminds us that we are celebrating two resurrections in this Feast of Feasts, that of the Lord Jesus from His three days in the tomb and our own. We, the descendants of Adam, experience resurrection because we have joined ourselves to Christ. We have reached out to Christ and He has taken us by the hand to give us life. Christ has conquered death so that we may be free from its power. His conquest emboldens us to mock the darkness and chains of the Evil One with the words of St. Paul, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (I Corinthians 15:54-55). The lit candles that we will hold up in middle of night on Pascha are symbols of that victory and we will carry them through the streets into the night to our homes to proclaim the news to all that Christ is Risen!

And the joy we will experience on the day of Pascha and through this season of resurrection must be proclaimed and shared. We will greet one another with a joy-filled “Christ Is Risen!”. We will remember the words of the hymn of Holy Saturday “Arise, O God, and judge the earth; for You shall have an inheritance in all of the nations.” The Resurrection banishes sadness in a tragedy-filled world and offers meaning and purpose in an age that feel adrift. The Resurrection shows us that the love and mercy of God knows no boundaries. The Resurrection gives life to the world, to all humanity, with no barriers. In the sermon of St. John Chrysostom we hear, “Let all enter into the joy of the Lord.”

The words of joy, life, mercy and forgiveness are easy to say, but their meaning and implications for the world are not so easy to put into practice. We see the outstretched hands of the suffering in the Middle East, the refugees fleeing Syria, and all those who yearn for peace, security and freedom from persecution. We see the outstretched hands of the poor and the suffering in our own cities and among our neighborhoods. We, like Christ in the icon, must extend our hands to those who seek to experience the power of the Resurrection and receive the gift of the new life that Christ has granted to the world. The Risen Christ who has granted the world great mercy and new life, calls us to extend that mercy and love and new life to all.

Dearly beloved, may the power of the Resurrection fill your hearts with the power of God’s infinite mercy and love.

Χριστός Ανέστη! Christ is Risen!

With Love in Our Risen Lord,
+ G E R A S I M O S
Metropolitan of San Francisco



The Orthodox Christian Network (OCN) is an official agency of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops of the United Stated of America, originally commissioned by SCOBA to create a national, sustainable, and effective media witness for Orthodox Christianity throughout North America. In a constantly changing media landscape, OCN delivers positive, relevant Orthodox content via multiple delivery platforms, reaching today’s internet users via broadcast, video, blogging, and webinar content.

This 501(c)3 is recognized as a leader in the Orthodox Media field and has sustained consistent growth over twenty years. OCN shares the timeless faith of Orthodoxy with the contemporary world through modern media. We are on a mission to inspire Orthodox Christians Worldwide. We have reached 5.7 Million People in One Week. Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners, readers, and fans. If you are interested in supporting our work, you can send your gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website. Your gift will ensure that OCN may continue to offer free, high-quality, theological media.


Spark OCN app is an Orthodox Christian News portal that allows you to take action. Spark provides daily devotions, live Bible study, and you can read and learn about events going on in the Orthodox Christian world, especially those concerning persecuted Christians. In addition to making it easy to share news and articles with friends, Spark allows you make prayer requests for those who are suffering.

Orthodox Prayer Book is the ultimate prayer assistant for Orthodox Christians. Not only does it allow you to carry your prayers around, it was designed from the ground-up for the iPhone to allow you to pray in the least distracting manner possible. Carry all the prayers, information about daily saints and fasting schedules with you throughout your day. Keep a list of people you want to pray for and have them automatically embedded into the prayers.

Click here to download the Spark OCN and Orthodox Prayer Book.

Posted by the Orthodox Christian Network. OCN is on Social Media! Follow us on Twitter,Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest

About author

Orthodox Christian News

Orthodox Christian Network brings you news of events and people important to the life of the Orthodox Church around the world. OCN highlights media organizations that track these important stories.