“The Resurrection of Christ, proclaiming the victory of life over death and all destructive passions, calls us to rejoice in our liberation from their dynasty. And in a world torn by deadly hostility and analgesia, let us become fighters against hatred and its various mutations. And to fight with unwavering faith, to strengthen the unity, the harmonious coexistence of the people and the peoples”, emphasized, among other things, Archbishop Anastasios of Tirana, Durres, and All Albania in his Easter message.
Read below Archbishop Anastasios’ Easter message:
The joyful celebration of Easter invites us to shine with joy, liberated from the captivity of deadly passions, from every dark element hidden at the bottom of our ego.
The events of the crucifixion of Christ are not only associated with horrible pain, blatant injustice, bottomless deceit, but above all with an abysmal hatred of the religious leadership, which mobilized an uncontrollable hostility of the mob. But all this was overthrown by the Resurrection of Christ.
The Resurrection proclaims a significant victory over death, evil plans, and deadly passions: envy, lies, and especially hatred with its various mutations, resentment, revenge, deceit, which remain enduring in all ages and all societies. Hatred contaminates people’s lives in the family, in religious and political life, in the relations of nations, creating unpredictable conflicts. And today, in the disturbing atmosphere created by the pandemic, a peculiar hatred often appears in various environments, with a variety of mutations, from the simplest symptoms – irritability, dislike, aggression to the most serious, polarization, violence, and discord.
The effective vaccine for dealing with hatred and its various forms was revealed to us by the crucified and resurrected Christ: it is the voluntary offering of forgiveness. In the short prayer that He left to His disciples, He put on the lips of all the members of His Church an agreement: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12). Emphasizing the greatness and breadth of love, which He manifested through His teaching and work, He proclaimed a peaceful revolution. He called on those who follow him to forgive and to love their enemies: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
Moreover, with a sudden warning, he prepared them: “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man” (Luke 6:22). And finally, He sealed this fundamental Christian principle with His last prayer on the Cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke. 23:34). Forgiveness has since become a key chromosome in the life of the conscious Christian.
Usually, many of us try to avoid this basic gospel principle and command. We insist on our justice and invoke our dignity and the danger of those who fight us. Nevertheless, there is no greater freedom than forgiveness.
But it is not enough to free ourselves personally from the side effects of hatred. We must constantly contribute to the reduction of tensions around us, to the de-escalation of polarizations, conflicts, various mutations of hatred. Blessed are those who manage with their speech and life to alleviate divisions, contradictions, hostilities, cultivating reconciliation. Blessed are those who are inspired by the apology that rose from the tomb of Christ. He was the first to take the initiative to give His life “as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). They are true “children of the resurrection.”
Drawing inspiration and strength from the glorious feast of Easter, let us try to make peace, forgiving even those who hate us, even if it seems difficult.
The Resurrection of Christ, proclaiming the victory of life over death and all destructive passions, calls us to rejoice in our liberation from their dynasty. And in a world torn by deadly hostility and analgesia, let us become fighters against hatred and its various mutations. And to fight with unwavering faith, to strengthen the unity, the love, the harmonious coexistence of the people and the peoples”.
Christ is Risen, my brothers and sisters, with enduring health and hope in the murky period of the pandemic and with the resurrection of freedom in our souls! “