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Pascal Encyclical, 5 May 2013

Reverend fathers, brothers and sisters in Christ,

Kristos Anesti! Christ is Risen! Kristo Amefufuka!

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice (Phil 4:4). It is incorrect for Christians to only rejoice when things are going well for them and while in comfort, and when things go bad their view on God, the Church and their faith changes drastically. Instead of praying, hoping for the best, and waiting for God’s will to be done, some Christians opt to complain, give up, lose heart, and even reduce their energy in the journey of faith, if not even change their faith. In most cases we care much more about the material side of our life, instead of the spiritual part. That is why when our material lives are affected; many of us forget what part their spiritual life plays especially in such situations. When our lives are shaken, either financially, physically, mentally or even spiritually, let us remember that this also marks the beginning of fierce temptations from the devil, and the evil one’s chance of snatching many believers away from the Kingdom of God, ruining their spiritual endeavors. It is for this reason that this should be the time that we should stand stronger and pray persistently to avoid being swept off by the devil, keeping in mind that it is at our weakest points that God makes us strongest (2 Corinthians 12:10).

Today as we celebrate the feast of the resurrection let us remember that God will never abandon us, just like He never abandoned the sinful humanity that disobeyed Him. In His great mercies, God gave out His only begotten Son to come save the sinful world: Christ was born, grew and ministered in a world sick with sin. Even though it is clear that sin and evil are opposed to the holiness that God lives in, this did not stop God from offering humanity the much-needed salvation and reconciliation. While in the midst of problems, let us remember that our God will never abandon us, no matter the magnitude of the problems we are facing. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). There is nothing without an end, and in most cases where God is the spearhead of our lives we have joy, success and rewards coming at the end of it all. After the passion and crucifixion comes the resurrection; after a dry season comes the rain; after a stressful life comes a time to relax; after a stressful youth comes an old age full of wisdom. Even though we sometimes live in very distressing situations, and with extreme struggles, we should not give up on perseverance while waiting for God’s hour, because once it comes, all our hurts will be gone, our tears wiped, our wounds cleaned, our hopes revived, and our pains and struggles replaced with joy.

On Your Cross You annulled the curse of the wood; In Your burial You destroyed the dominion of Death; and in Your resurrection, You shed light to the human race(Stichera, vespers of love).

When Christ died, His Apostles and Disciples were wondering who would lead them henceforth. Some even decided to go back to their earlier lives (John 21:3, Luke 24:13). They were low in spirit, and did not foresee any part of their comeback. What they did not know was that they would be gloomy for just a brief period of time, all of which ended with the third day resurrection of Christ. The Apostles and Disciples were hiding and locking themselves inside with a lot of fear during this distressing period, but after their knowledge of the resurrection, and their reception of the Holy Spirit fifty days later, they even had the courage to stand before big crowds and proclaim the resurrected Christ (Acts 2).

When we see much trouble in our lives, when in the midst of terrifying temptations, when in much pain, when not even able to discern where our next meal will come from, when not able to help our suffering brethren, when we have no school fees to offer our children, when we can’t even pay the hospital bills of our loved ones, when without a job, and many other tribulations which we have no human ability to fix, let us keep our eyes fixed on the resurrected Christ. Just like Christ saved man from eternal damnation through being crucified on the cursed cross, dying and resurrecting on the third day; just like He gave life to those who had departed this life and were already in Hades; just like He resurrected the life of the only son of the widow of Nain; just like He healed the many sick who came to Him after having tried all human cures to no avail; just like He delivered the three young men from the fire of the furnace, so should we expect the unexpected out of any complicated situation we are in. Even in the midst of our present financial crisis, I urge you to not waver but instead be faithful to our callings in Christ. When looking with the limited human eye and mind, our problems sometimes look impossible, “but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26). Our hope, our power, and more importantly our faith should always be in the resurrected Christ, who will always deliver us from all our tribulations.

Lord of hosts, we beseech You to be ever with us, only from you do we seek help in suffering and distress. O Lord of hosts, have mercy on us (Troparia, Great Compline).

With paternal love,
Archbishop Makarios Tillyrides of Kenya

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The African Orthodox Church of Kenya, though not Autonomous, is by far the largest in Africa, having three local jurisdictions.

These three jurisdictions came through the unanimous decision of the Holy Synod of the Patriarchate of Alexandria, to divide the ever growing Archdiocese into three jurisdictions. 

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