“Rejoice O ye peoples and be glad!” This is the timeless Paschal message of the holy Angel we experienced on the Sunday of the Myrrh-bearing women in our beautiful and picturesque Monastery of the Holy Archangels in Levin, New Zealand.
«Peoples, races, tribes and languages», faithful children of our most holy Orthodox Church in this country. More than ten priests, Greeks, Russians, Serbs, Romanians, New Zealanders, headed by the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan of New Zealand, sang the greatness of our Lord’s Resurrection. The overflow of light inside the church, the melodious chanting in various languages… The representation of our parishes and Communities with massive attendance from Levin, Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and others set the tone, not the one of the weird and undesirable globalization, but that of the blessed universality of our Church. «The Lord hath made known his salvation. (Psalm 98:3).
It is difficult for one to describe the beauty and the theological character of this Eucharistic assembly. “Christ is risen from the dead. Rejoice O ye peoples and be glad! Receive the Body of Christ, Taste Him, a fountain of immortality”.
All the faithful draw near «With the fear of God, faith and love» in order to partake of the Most Holy Body and Blood of the Risen Christ.
Everyone’s face lights up with joy. The communal meal that followed with food and sweets made by all the Christian sisters (of every nation but of an Orthodox identity), confirmed St. Paul’s saying,» There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28).
Finally came the time of externalizing feelings with the simple but vivid in content addresses of our siblings in Christ, clergy and laity, through which they expressed their feelings of love as well as their sadness for their Shepherd’s falling asleep in the Lord due to bad health and old age, but for another more important need as well . But soon enough, our Venerable Ecumenical Patriarchate will send the new Shepherd, who will be younger and worthier, and « sorrow shall be turned into joy” (John, 16:20-22).
Our Holy Church does not rely on human beings but on our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is her head and glory.
«Christ is risen from the dead, the Savior of the world, and hath filled the universe with sweet fragrance. Rejoice O ye peoples and be glad!»
† Amphilochios of New Zealand