BY THE GRACE OF GOD
IGNATIUS ZAKKA I IWAS
PATRIARCH OF ANTIOCH AND ALL THE EAST
SUPREME HEAD OF THE UNIVERSAL SYRIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
|February 28, 2005
Apostolic Benediction to our beloved Metropolitan: His Eminence Mor Theethos
Yeldho, and to our beloved spiritual children: the Venerable Corepiscopos, the
Esteemed Priests, the Reverend Deacons and all other Respected Faithful of our
Malankara Archdiocese of the Syrian Orthodox Church in North America.
The Holy Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is at hand. Lord Jesus, the Only-Begotten Son of God, came into this world and lived among us. He proclaimed the Good News of salvation through Him and declared: "The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." (St. Mark 10:45) He healed the sick, fed the hungry and comforted the distressed. He said: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (St. John 15:13) And, true to His word, He did lay down His life for our sake. He, who was without sin, took upon Him our sins and suffered for us; was crucified for us; and died for us on the Cross. But, on the third day, He rose from among the dead. The Apostle St. Paul testifies thus: "In fact Christ has been raised from the dead." (1 Corinthians 15:20) Therefore, since our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, defeating Satan, sin and death, we are assured that He is a Saviour who can cleanse us from our sins and has power over life and death. Hence, the Resurrection of Christ is the guarantee of our hope and faith in Him. So, we have to observe the Great Lent with fasting and prayer and repent of our sins, so that we may become worthy to celebrate the Holy Feast of Easter with spiritual joy. On this blessed occasion of the Holy Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, even as you rejoice, hold firmly to the faith you profess in Him. Remember His self-sacrificing love for us, which led Him to the Cross. And He has commanded us: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. "(St. John 13:34) We pray to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to grant you the grace to obey His commandment and become messengers of love and peace. We wish you all a Blessed and Happy Easter. We extend our Apostolic Blessings to you. May the grace of God be with you all. Aboon d-bashmayo ... (Our Father ...) Amen.
Issued at our Patriarchate in Damascus, Syria
on the 28th day of February, in the year two thousand and five
which is the 24th year of our Patriarchate.