By Metropolitan Antony (Pakanich), the Chancellor of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church: "From year to year, we live an astonishing period: the days of the Paschal season that last from the luminous Resurrection of Christ until His Ascension. Unfortunately, few people are able to realize the importance of this graceful time and the healing it brings.

Metropolitan Antony on the true meaning of the Paschal season
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It is not the kulich or the paskha (Pascha cakes), nor any other food abundantly adorning our festive tables, that give us real comfort and health. Often, all of this can actually become a trap that destroys our health and strength, cleverly replacing spiritual joy and the feast of the spirit with carnal revelry and various foods.
Now, it is precisely in these remarkable days, when we remember how Christ walked on earth after His glorious Resurrection, that we can receive a special gift from the Lord, who now also dwells among us. This saving gift is the spiritual vision, the sight of our sins.
With the help of the radiant light of Christ, which flows generously everywhere in this particular season, all darkness is illuminated, including the one you and I are filled with to the brim. And seeing the darkness in ourselves is a great work, it is the beginning of salvation.

The spiritual night of our soul is overcome by the brightness of the Passover of Christ: the darkness of passions, of vices and sin, is dispelled, and the long-awaited dawn of awakening begins. In the diffused morning light, we will be able to see for a moment not only our own soul in its true form, but also the outlines of the future (which is actually a distant past, destined for man from the beginning, and which is restored to us by the merciful God), namely our immortality.
Through the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, all obstacles and boundaries between eternity and ephemeral life are destroyed. Every person can now unite with God, and in this way, the evil and mortality that are in us can be destroyed.
In these joyful days, let us give thanks to the Lord for His Sacrifice, which became the Source of our salvation, and for His victorious death, overcoming death itself (“trampling death by death”). Let us rejoice that the Lord, through His death and Resurrection, has opened to us the depths and infinite possibilities of human nature, and has shown us the height of beauty.
St. Luke of Crimea poetically compares human life with grapes, beautiful and pure, that mature under the rays of the sun, feed on the sap of the vine, and are irrigated by the heavenly dew.

When they ripen, they are pressed, and they turn into insignificant remains, doomed to rot. The grapes die, but their juice continue to live, to which they gave life.
As long as the grapes grew and lived, a wonderful and delicate taste was ripening in the grape juice. In the same way, our spirit is formed during earthly life, said the holy hierarch Luke. And just as wine continues to live after the death of the grapes, and even improves constantly (the older the wine, the more sustained, beautiful and precious it is), so our spirit, having freed itself from the chains of the body, will continue to live forever, perfecting in the direction that we have chosen during our life.
“A good and holy spirit will be perfected in the heavenly Kingdom, while a bad and dark one will be eternally tormented in the company of the devil, the father of all evil and darkness,” said the saint.
Let us strive to adorn ourselves with virtues, and to adorn the world with the beauty of our being. In these festive days, let us seek Christ in people, in good works, and in our own hearts. For love towards others is the pledge of our love for God.
Let us meet each morning waiting for the Lord to call us each by name. We cannot go to God as long as He does not call us Himself: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him” (Jn 6:44).
And when we are called, our reaction can only be that of Mary Magdalene, who was the first to see the Risen Lord, who called her by her name, “Mary”. And she threw herself at His feet.

Source in Russian

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Beside an anthology on Cistercian texts, Emma Cazabonne has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here Newsletter

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