You guys are never gona believe this. In the Serbian Orthodox Church web-site there is a VIDEO of a bishop reading the encyclical, so you can hear it read to you!!!!! I didn't even know we had that kind of technology....
THE SERBIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH TO HER SPIRITUAL CHILDREN AT PASCHA, 2006
P A V L E
By the grace of God
Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and Serbian Patriarch, with all the Hierarchs of the Serbian Orthodox Church—to all the clergy, monastics, and all the sons and daughters of our holy Church: grace, mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, with the joyous paschal greeting:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
“Let the heavens rejoice,
and let the earth be glad.
Let the whole world,
visible and invisible,
keep the feast.
For Christ is risen, our eternal joy.”
(Pascha hymn, Ode I)
The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead is the main event in the salvation of mankind. With His Resurrection from the tomb, the Savior proclaimed victory over death — the last enemy of all people.
The Lord, the Lover of mankind, Who for our sake accepted the crucifixion and death, made us partakers of His victory over death. The human nature in the God-man Christ received death, but that same nature resurrected and brought victory over death. That victory, which the Lord accomplished in the body, brought freedom from death to all people; the freedom in which we rejoice even here and now through the Resurrection of our Savior.
The Lord Jesus Christ underwent death in His body so that with the victory over death and annihilation of decay, the power of resurrection could pass on to the human race. Through the first man, our forefather Adam, because of sin and the Fall, we inherited condemnation and death. But in the new Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ, we have inherited resurrection. Thus we commune in His Glory and partake of His unending Kingdom. Because the Savior was truly glorified through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, we openly testify that on the Cross in His human nature He truly suffered and died, for His redeeming work was crowned with a glory worthy of God.
So why did God allow death, as Adam’s legacy, to still exist in this world? — People still die, but not as those condemned, nor for eternity, but for a finite time, so that they might receive a better resurrection. The God-man Christ is the first-born of the dead, and all people follow after Him as the First-born, because through His resurrection He has enlivened all of human nature. About this the Lord Himself testifies: “The hour is coming, and now is when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will liveÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦. And [they will] come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:25, 29)
The Resurrection event has such great significance for the entire universe that we call it a new creation. It caused change within all worlds, because from it begins the renewal of things. With it, the earth and the heaven are renewed and the Lord’s word is fulfilled: “Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev. 21:5) The resurrection has a special meaning for the spiritual life of Christians, for all who believe in Christ rise with Him into new life and offer their physical and spiritual being to God as those brought from death to life. (Rom. 6:13) We therefore elevate our thoughts today above earthly worries, as the Holy Apostle Paul says: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.” (Col. 3:1-2)
Everything which Christ said and did in accomplishing our salvation receives its full meaning in the Resurrection, but most especially suffering and death. Through the resurrection the wooden cross of the crucifixion became a symbol of victory and glory, and the mortal wounds of our Lord became fountains of healing through which we receive eternal life, knowledge of God, and the love for mankind of our resurrected Savior. This is why all God-pleasing efforts of the faithful, most especially holy service to God and for the salvation of our loved ones, and all expressions of Gospel piety, find their significance in the resurrection of our Lord.
The resurrection of Christ was called Pascha even in the old days. The Old Testament Pascha, the main Feastday of the chosen people of God, points to the New Testement Pascha, new and eternal, in both name and essence. Pascha means to pass over,and the Church on Pascha glorifies Christ, by whose Resurrection we pass from death to life, and from earth to heaven. The Old Testament Pascha celebrated the temporal deliverance from death of a small nation under the leadership of the prophet Moses, while the New Testament Pascha offers eternal deliverance to all believing peoples through all generations. According to the law of Moses, the Paschal meal was prepared with lamb. Christ’s Pascha means that the Lamb of God voluntarily sacrificed and offered Himself as food to the faithful. That is why St. Paul the apostle, advising us to boldly approach the paschal banquet table and the “throne of grace” (Heb. 4:16) said: “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” (1 Cor. 5:7) The celebration of the New Testament Pascha of the Cross and Resurrection is established in the Mystery of Lord’s Body and Blood, which builds the Divine-human community and the unity of the faithful: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.” (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
The resurrection of Christ is the Feast of Feasts because it most deeply expresses the Church’s life. Not just today, but every Sunday of the year as the day of resurrection, gathers together the faithful in the Church, in the community of the Lord’s Banquet.
We experience the resurrection of Christ, our dear spiritual children, as the manifestation of the eternal light which enlightens not only people’s souls but the whole of creation. “Today everything is filled with light, the heaven, earth and things below,” we sing in the resurrectional hymn. The first week after the Resurrection is permeated with light, and this is why it is called Bright Week: it is entirely filled with the glory of Resurrection and therefore it is celebrated as one day. This eternal light is, through the living body of the Church, passed on to the life of us all, to our thoughts and deeds, so that we live with a new life.
On this radiant Feast, we wholeheartedly offer our thanks to the Lord Who in these stormy times has revealed Himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, to our young generations. We especially rejoice in seeing that our young ones, through the glorified body of Christ and His Church, are finding joy and the imperishable essence of a new and eternal life.
At the same time, we are deeply aware of the painful truth of the modern world that the young ones, in great numbers, are becoming victims of narcotics, false saviors and teachings harmful to the soul. This kind of life deprives them of a happy youth and the joy of life. Worst of all is the continuation of child-killing (abortion), as well as mindless attacks on the sanctity of family life and community. The worrisome spiritual and moral crisis and biological perishing of almost all Christian nations — and among them, unfortunately, our own Serbian people — are not only consequences of economic insecurity and societal disarray, but stem above all from estrangement from the God of love and from the Church, which by the grace of the Holy Spirit establishes and exemplifies eternal communion among people. Truthfully sharing all temptations and suffering with our people in these Bright Paschal days, we pass on to all of you the angelic greeting from the tomb of the Resurrected Christ: “Rejoice!” With His resurrectional light, the Lord enlightens even those who have wandered away into the darkness of spiritual gloom. He gives life and joy to all the saddened, forsaken and sinners through repentance, faith, hope and love—through their joyous return to the maternal embrace of the Church.
In these days of the Cross and Resurrection we most deeply co-suffer with our brothers and sisters in Kosovo and Metohija. They through the centuries, but most especially in the last few years, have gone through and continue to go through thorny sufferings and daily crucifixions, awaiting with uncertainty the political decisions on which their and their children’s future will depend. To them we, in the spirit of the Gospel, send the message that after crucifixion comes resurrection, and that there is no joy of new life without the tomb from which dawns life in Jesus Christ. We call upon them to be faithful to the tradition of the Holy Tsar Lazar and stay in their homeland regardless of the threats of those blinded by hatred. Kosovo and Metohija is the land of the oath by which the Serbian people bound themselves to Christ and entered into the priestly community of the People of God. We pray to God for a quick granting of His peace to the suffering Kosovo and Metohija through mutual understanding by the Serbian and Albanian communities, employing agreed declarations that guarantee life, peace, liberty, and dignity to all people.
We express our joy and thanks to our Resurrected Lord for the release of His Beatitude Archbishop of Ohrid and Metropolitan of Skoplje Jovan from a dark prison cell. Most especially we rejoice that he voluntarily accepted this humiliation for Christ and truthfully endured it, sacrificing himself to help overcome a ghastly schism between brothers of faith. With hope and patience, we call upon our brothers in schism to put the unity of the Church above all earthly goals. We hope that they will come out of the dungeon of the schism into the light of canonical and Eucharistic unity of the Church in Resurrected Christ, the Victorious One over death and every division.
With fatherly love we call upon our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Montenegro, and on all people of good will, to preserve mutual peace and unity both before and after the forthcoming referendum. At the same time, we remind all that the Orthodox Faith safeguards and builds freedom for every person, and likewise promotes unity among peoples and nations. Freedom and human and brotherly good cannot be built anywhere, and especially in Njegos’ Montenegro, through pressure on people’s consciences, bribery, and threats; but through a free expression of will and with full responsibility for the future of one’s descendants.
Dear spiritual children in the Diaspora, the joy of this Feast brings us together with you regardless of earthly distances. Always rejoice in your holy Church, because she deeply connects you with the heavenly and irreplaceable earthly homeland. Be good citizens of the countries in which you live, and faithful and active members of your Church. Cultivate your Serbian language! This is the language of your ancestors and the language of Serbian culture and spirituality, but most of all, the language of our Liturgical worship.
Witnessing in the joy of the Holy Orthodox Faith that nothing “can separate us from the love of God,” (Rom. 8:39) which eternally renews our imperishable communion; we congratulate you, dear spiritual children, on this Feast of Feasts, with the most joyous greeting:
CHRIST IS RISEN!
INDEED HE IS RISEN!
Given at the Serbian Patriarchate in Belgrade at Pascha 2006.
Your prayerful intercessors before the Crucified and Resurrected Lord:
Archbishop of Pec,
Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and
Serbian Patriarch PAVLE
I was gona put all the rest of the bishops, but that would have been showy...