Speech by the Elder, Fr. Vassiliou, Prior of the Holy Monastery of Ibera on Mount Athos, after the resurrection Divine Liturgy in the Monastery’s altar (2020).
This year, the Resurrection tells us many things. If we happen to believe and live what we sing that “we celebrate death with death, Hell the purification of another life, the eternal beginning”, then we fear nothing. And each threat increases the power of the risen Lord’s presence.
What happened this year with the coronavirus is a temptation, but all temptations turn into blessings. We chanted: “…we say brothers and they hate us”. Even those who hate us are waiting for our love, and those who don’t believe are waiting for the strength of our faith. So if one believes, with this test this year he made a better Easter. By making a better Easter at the time when you don’t make Easter, you feel the power of the risen and you make company with all people.
And while the temptation with an illness to create problems goes, the power of the resurrected Lord is revealed. Through the graves and through the souls of all men comes a consolation. Says the trope of Kassiani: “My sin, the multitudes and abysses of your crimes, my Saviour, my Savior, will search them out”… On the one hand, there is a set of sins and weaknesses. And on the other hand, an abyss of misery, an ocean without a bottom, so any storm in this bottomless ocean, becomes an occasion not for the scum that comes out of the bottomless lakes to come out, but the iodine of health comes out.
So the church rejoices more in the presence of the resurrected one with this test. And at the same time the strength of the materials of our faith is tested and the weakness of the one who does not believe, but believes in himself and his virtue, is revealed. So we have this phenomenon now. Some believers – I don’t know what to call them – go to give consolation and criticize. They criticize the Church and essentially highlight their own weakness. So we thank the risen Christ, His mother the Most Holy Theotokos and all the saints who keep us in the paradise of life.
Let us ask Christ to strengthen us in the truth of our humiliation, that is, to feel our own weakness so that our whole being is Christ. And let us say with the Apostle Paul “if we live, if we die, we are the Lord’s”. Whether we are alive or dead in the flesh, our life is Christ. So “Christ is risen from the dead and life reigns, Christ is risen and no one is dead on the grave”. This is the glory and the kingdom forever and ever. Amen.