St. Mary Orthodox Church

Cambridge, MA

April 2003

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Fr. Antony PortraitChrist is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

All our hopes rest on this proclamation. The Resurrection represents the death of Death, the end of the tyranny of sin, and the reopening of the gates of Eden for all mankind. The eye-witness of this event, the apostles and disciples of the Lord, galvanized by their experience and filled with the Holy Spirit, spread the new Faith throughout the known world without swords, without violence changing forever the course of human history.

We, the disciples in the Twenty-First century, are given the same message and the same responsibility. The peace of the world depends not on the arms and weapons of any nation, but on the goodness and mercy of God demonstrated in the life, death and Resurrection of the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ and in His Body the Church. The leaven of grace is at work at all times and at every moment and we have only to offer ourselves to God as faithful servants so that all men, women, and children may come to know the Gospel. "The fields are white for harvest," our Lord told his apostles and you and I are to be the harvesters of the ripe grain in our time.

How may we accomplish this task? First through devotion to God, through prayer and self-denial and our concentrated efforts to "make peace in our own hearts." Secondly, through acts of mercy and kindness to all. St. Francis once said, "May I always preach the Gospel and, if necessary, use words." Gracious lives are always the clearest evidence of our Lord's call to salvation. Thirdly, "if necessary" and whenever appropriate we must be ready to give an account of the "faith that is in us", but our words must always be seasoned with love and respect for those who will hear us or our preaching will "miss the mark" and betray the Gospel. We must pray for courage and wisdom at the same time so that we might not be found to be ashamed (or ignorant) of the message we have to share when such opportunities arise.

I am grateful for all of you. By God's grace there is ample evidence that the Holy Spirit is at work among us. The faith of our community is growing. Christ is in our midst!

May the Light of the Resurrection fill you with peace, joy and love forever and ever!

Yours in the Risen Lord.

Fr. Antony