Church of the Nativity

Old Rite Russian Orthodox

​An Old Rite parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). We are located in Erie, PA.

Paschal Epistle from Bishop John

Christ is Risen!

Brothers and sisters, faithful sons and daughters of Christ's Church, my dear Christians, I greet you all on this Feast of Feasts, on which, as the service tells us, all is filled with light, Heaven and earth, even the underworld, and at which not just mankind rejoices, but also the angels, all creation, visible and invisible.

This is because the Resurrection of Christ is not merely a physical event in the course of human history, but it is the great Mystery, which consummates, crowns and gives meaning to the whole of God's interaction with humanity. Christ's work of salvation, from His Incarnation to His suffering and death on the Cross takes on its meaning in the fact of His Resurrection.

Without the Resurrection, Christ's Incarnation and life would have only a moral and didactic meaning. The act of Divine Love would have concluded with His death on the Cross. It would have finished and been sealed with the stone at the tomb. Christ would remain just a prophet and teacher whose activity was brought to a close by a martyr's death.

Without the Resurrection, Christianity would not be the Church of God, would not be God's Kingdom on earth, would not be the fountain of life, but just another religious system with its own body of doctrine.

Without the Resurrection, our faith, as the Apostle Paul tells us, would be in vain, and we would be the most miserable of all men (cf. I Cor. 15:17-19).

But Christ is risen! He has risen for our sake, He has risen to raise us with Him. Having risen from the dead and trampled down death, Christ calls us to trample on death with Him, and to enter into new life, the life of His Kingdom on earth, His holy Church, and thence to eternal life in His Heavenly Kingdom. He calls us to live the mystery of the Cross and Resurrection, until Christ be formed in us (cf. Gal. 4:19) and we come... unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13).

If we respond and live up to, and according to, our calling, then for us indeed everything will be filled with light, and we truly will be granted to partake of the risen Christ in the unwaning day of His Kingdom.

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

His Grace, Bishop John, bishop of Caracas, South America and Erie