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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!
As Heads and representatives of the Christian Churches in Turkey, we are delighted to address all the faithful, as we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, once again Easter in the Eastern and Western Churches will not be celebrated on the same day, but, this year, with one week difference. We pray that we will soon find the necessary resolution that will allow all Christians around the world to celebrate the most important feast of our faith on the same date. A good opportunity for such an initiative may well be the upcoming 1700th anniversary of the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 2025.
“Come receive the light, from the unwaning light; and glorify Christ who has risen from the dead!”
Only yesterday, we were with Christ in the Upper Room at the Last Supper. Only yesterday, we were with Him in the garden of Gethsemane. Only yesterday, we were with our Lord on Golgotha. But today, we are drawn into His glorious resurrection, and we are inspired by a divine joy that fills our hearts. On this day of Pascha, we enter the doors of the Kingdom. We have become new men and women, renewed by the power of His infinite love. We should no longer be afraid! Let us become like Christ, since He has chosen to become like us. As Saint Paul wrote to the Ephesians: God “made us alive together with Christ … and God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms with Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-6). In this spirit, we should remember at Easter why we are Christians, why we follow Christ, why we carry every day the cross of our lives, following the Lord who gave Himself up “for the life of the world.”
Christ’s mission on Earth started in the cave of Bethlehem and culminated in the empty tomb, in the bright reality of the Kingdom of God. The Resurrection stands at the crossroads of time and history. However, today the Holy places that witnessed these wondrous and divine events struggle to preserve and safeguard not only the monuments, but also the unique spirit of the Gospel in the birthplace of Christianity. Therefore, though we are filled with the joy of the resurrection, while “remembering His saving passion and life giving cross, His three-day burial and resurrection from the dead, His ascension into heaven, and the sitting at the right hand of God the Father, and His glorious and awesome second coming,” we also remember, together with our brothers and sisters in Turkey, our fellow Christians in the Holy Land and pray for them all with fraternal love. As Saint Paul wrote: “But above all put on love, which is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today, we received the Light of faith. We share this Light with a world that lives in constant fear. During these difficult times, we pray for peace all around the world. The Gospel of the resurrection is a message of hope, peace and “perfect love,” which “drives out fear” (1 Jn 4:18). This salvific message is what also drives our strong desire for unity.
Christ is Risen! Indeed, He is Risen!
- Sahak II.
Armenian Patriarch of Turkey
- Filüksinos Yusuf Çetin Metropolitan of the Syrian Orthodox of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir Spiritual Leader & Patriarchal Vicar
- Bishop Massimiliano Palinuro
Apostolic Vicar of İstanbul Latin Catholic Church