The Orthodox Churches, both Eastern and Oriental, celebrate the feast of the Resurrection of Jesus this year on April 12. Unfortunately the Orthodox Church of Malankara and the Armenian Church in the Middle East are the only Churches that permit the observance of Easter according to the Gregorian calendar of the Roman Church. This writer has written against this practice quoting from the canons of the Nicene Synod in the pages of Voice of Orthodoxy many years ago. This practice was introduced in India due to great pressures from western Christian communities, whose argument was to show some kind of solidarity in faith in a land where the majority of the population was Hindu. This writer again pleads to the Holy Episcopal Synods of the Orthodox Church in India and of the Armenian Church in the Middle East to reconsider this matter, and vindicate true Orthodoxy. Otherwise this practice will remain a permanent scar on the face of Orthodoxy, and might tarnish Orthodox character of these churches in the sight of other orthodox churches in the world.
Recently a United Methodist bishop was reprimanded by his church for his heretic view that Christ did not resurrect from His tomb. In recent times there were many western theologians, who had proposed that the resurrection of Christ was just a myth. We wonder why these so-called theologians and liberal clergyman are speculating against resurrection when Paul clearly says that our faith has no meaning without resurrection. If a theologian attacks the virgin birth of Christ and His resurrection what else is there for a theologian to theologize! If Christ is stripped from His virgin birth and resurrection, what else is there for us to BELIEVE in!
Friends, the empty tomb of Christ is a historical reality for every orthodox. The four gospels were written by four different men on different occasions and for different purposes. All of them clearly certify that Jesus rose from the dead without any doubt. The apostles of Christ were terrified of what had happened in connection with the crucifixion of Christ. They were even afraid of getting out, because they thought that they lost their leader and His movement. They were a defeated group. Even after the resurrection of Christ, which was reported by some lady-disciples of Christ, they were still afraid of getting out. Jesus Himself had to appear to them in order to convince them of His resurrection when they were hiding in a basement. But it took a mighty wind blown by the Holy Spirit to power them for preaching the resurrected Jesus. All, but one, were martyred for this faith. Who is going to show his neck to the sharp edges of a sword if he does not have a convincing reason to die! Who is going to stretch his hands for crucifixion, if he does not have Master, who conquered the cross and death on it! Yes, the suffering of all apostles demands a convincing reason behind it. The reason is that unique event in the history of mankind: Christ conquered death by His resurrection. That is what gave them hope.
Our Christian life is meaningless without our resurrected Lord. It is also meaningless without a resurrected life. We are all buried under our sins, our voluptuous desires, our carnality, and our selfishness. Our resurrection takes place through true repentance. It is not enough that we are sorry about our fallen lives. It is important that we convert to Christ, by rejecting our sinful and carnal way of life. It requires determination and resolution; the determination for conversion to Christ, and resolution not to sin again. Then only can we be sure of our own resurrected life.
In our Liturgy of Resurrection, there is a moving component, which is the announcement of resurrection to the public. Immediately after the announcement the faithful attending the liturgy greet each other with the following: Christos Aneste (Christ Is Risen)! The response is also suggestive of the great joy every Orthodox experiences when listening to this glad news: Alithos Aneste (Indeed He Is Risen)!
WE WISH ALL OUR READERS A VERY BLESSED EASTER AND A JOYFUL SPRING SEASON!