By Augustine Sokolovski
The Orthodox celebration of Easter almost always falls on the days of May. “Spring is fragrant today,” is sung in one of the liturgical hymns of these days. The Easter greeting "Christ is Risen" replaces any other greeting. The Church, as a Society of Believers, proclaims these words with heart and mouth. These words possess a special significance and great gravity. They contain the initial experience of the genuine spring of the Universe, which is the Event of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
"Christ is Risen" is not just a message that Jesus is alive, but one of the original Creeds. This early Christian exclamation confesses the belief that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the God-Anointed Savior of the World, in whom, and only in Him, deliverance is given. “God raised him from the dead, and he is a stone that has become the head of the corner, and there is salvation in no one else” (Acts 4:10-12).
“Christ is Risen” means that the Lord Jesus has risen from the dead, and death no longer has power over Him. Death no longer possesses Him, as Scripture says. “Christ, having risen from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over Him” (Acts 6:9). Anyone who joins this witness of the life and death of Christ is withdrawn from the power of death by the power of Christ and God.
“Christ is Risen” - the confession of the Lordship of Christ and His Victory over death in the Orthodox tradition replaces any greeting on Easter days, and even many prayers. It is repeated again and again because the property of the Christian faith is such that only transmitted, that is, communicated to others, believers and unbelievers, this faith comes to life in the heart of the confessing person himself and becomes his real property. In the Christian understanding, as the theologian Barbara Hallensleben says, grace is communication.
After all, faith is not a property or an acquisition, but a gift from God. The faith is an unaccountable, sovereign, without beginning, that is, if translated from the original Greek literally, an anarchic Gift of God and the Father in Christ Jesus. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). In fact, faith is synonymous with grace, it is a gift given for free, in Latin: “gratia gratis data”.
The proclamation of the words "Christ is Risen" joins the faithful, each person individually and the whole Church, as the Body of Christ, with the experience of the holiness of the saints. “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude of people, whom no one could number, from all nations and tribes and peoples and languages, stood before the throne and before the Lamb in white robes and with palm branches in their hands”, - is written in the Apocalypse (Apoc.7,9). Imagine all the people, imagine this great multitude of saints, who serve God and help people day and night until the time is fulfilled. Proclaiming the Creed of the Easter days, “Christ is Risen”, the Church commemorates the event of the Resurrection. She communicates, that is, proclaims it to others. In response she receives from Him the ability to live the Resurrection of Christ, rushing into the future. She receives it as a genuine unexpected joy from God. In the language of the Bible and Theology, Easter, by the gift of faith in Christ Jesus, acquires a new future, eschatological dimension. “Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me. And the Spirit and the bride say: Come! And let him who hears say: Come! Amen. Him, come, Jesus Christ" (Apoc. 22:12,17-20). The Church, as the Society of Believers and the Bride of Christ, together with the saints of the living God, here and now, is waiting for the Lord Jesus. This expectation should come true.