Glorious Feast of Resurrection 19 April 2020 - H.H. Pope Tawadros II Message - Saturday April 18, 2020

Glorious Feast of Resurrection 19 April 2020 - H.H. Pope Tawadros II Message
From Fear to Love: 3 Essential Steps to Live the Resurrected Life
Saturday April 18, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. One God. Amen. May His grace and mercy rest upon us, from now and forevermore. Amen.
Christos Anesti. Alithos Anesti. Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. I congratulate you, beloved ones, on this glorious Feast of Resurrection, after 55 days of holy fasting and after having spent the Holy Week in much prayers, Holy Bible Readings, and comforting melodies and chants.
And although the circumstances this year do not permit for us to celebrate together in our churches because of the ill effects on people around the world due to this pandemic, yet this year we celebrate in a spiritual way with our families and in our homes, and this is wonderful. I see the image of celebration on the level of each individual family in their home, as they follow the prayers on the various media screens and social media, and this is a very powerful way of building spiritual thinking within a family, of the building up of the family altar, and of the renewal and reenergizing of the spiritual life within each home.
The Lord Christ arose on the third day after the cross and His resurrection had its mark historically, geographically, archeologically, ecclesiastically, as well as upon the many places that witness of the resurrection and the eyewitnesses of its events. This Resurrection proved that life is more powerful than death, that love is greater than hate, that good is more powerful than evil, and that truth is superior to vanity.
The number “3”
Because of the resurrection of the Lord Christ on the third day, the number three now holds great importance and meaning in a person’s life. They say that a person’s life is 3 days: the day of birth, the day of death, and between them is one long day called “the day of life.”
And the day of life is a long day that characterizes the system of human life. In this life, night comes and day departs, the seed dies in the ground and resurrects to bring forth much fruit, a generation builds and another reaps, tears are shed and joys are born, and so is life, containing many things, but I want to concentrate on one point today and that is that a person’s life is associated to having many fears.
There are many fears a person faces throughout his or her life and the presence of these fears keeps a person in a continual state of fear. A person may fear failure, fear sickness, fear death, fear losing loved ones, fear old age, or fear change – these many fears keep a person living in a state of continual fear.
And while it may be that the sudden presence and spread of the corona virus in the world today has caused the fears to increase and has made it so that people are living in a state of anxiety, yet the resurrection is the means by which a person can be transported from a state of fear to a state of love, and I will explain to you how this happens, but before I begin, I would like to mention that David the prophet also went through such times of fear, to the point where in one of his Psalms he cried out and said, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?” (Ps 27:1).
A person stands confused before the many fears that confront him in his long day of life and he may sometimes stand before God and ask, “Lord, where are You in the midst of all these fears?” Other times he may have the thought, “Lord, have You forgotten Your creation? The humans You created with Your own Hands?” Still, other times a person may have the thought, “Lord, do our prayers not reach You?”
Sometimes when going through many fears, a person will feel that they are passing through a tunnel. Many writers and philosophers speak about life as a journey through a tunnel, and whether a long one or a short one, when a person walks through a tunnel they cannot see the light, but towards the end he sees the light and so he gets a sense of safety and peace.
If we remember St. Paul the apostle, he lived the first half of his life far from Christ, but in the second half he became so close to Christ and became an evangelist for Christ. And towards the end of his life, accompanied by others, he boarded a ship heading toward Rome because that is where he was to be tried [before Caesar]. And the seas rose and the ship was wrecked, but amidst all these many great fears he said, “So we gave way and let ourselves be driven along” (Acts 27:15), and this is the experience of strong faith that each one of us needs to have.
Also, in the Old Testament, David the prophet fell into a sin, the sin of taking a census (counting) of the people, and we may wonder, “What’s the sin in that?” But the counting of the people meant that he was depending upon his own strength and his own resources and not on the help of God. This was a sin and a sin requires correction, so he was given three corrections to choose from: either a famine in the land for 7 years, being persecuted by his enemies for 3 months, or a plague that would last for 3 days. David was to choose one of the three and we see that David chose the third option, saying, “Let us fall into the hand of the LORD, for His mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man” (2 Sam 24:14).
What I want to say is that the resurrection enabled people to cross over from a state of fear to a state of love, and the state of love is the most valuable emotional state that a person can experience because it is a state of utmost rest, utmost joy, and utmost inner satisfaction. And so, resurrection is what can transform a person, allowing them to live in their true human state, which is joy.
Resurrection transformed many people from being in a state of fear to being in a state of perfect love, and I will explain 3 points we find illustrated in the beautiful scenes from the events of the Resurrection.
Because it is impossible for a person to enjoy the resurrection and to pass over from a state of fear to the state of love except by being pure, the first step is the step of purity, and I’m referring to purity of the heart. For a person to live their life before God in the right way, as God intended, a person must take this step of purity, as it is written, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).
The greatest example we find of this is Peter. Just a few days before the resurrection of Christ, Peter denied Christ. He had fallen into a sin that often makes us marvel and wonder, “How is it possible that you were a disciple and yet you fell into this sin? And how is it that you were able to deny your Master before a servant girl?” And we marvel.
And even the apostle Peter himself felt that it was over for him, that he had now been disqualified, and so he lived in a state of fear and far away from Christ, because after the resurrection of the Lord Christ, Peter went back to his old work of being a fisherman. Peter forgot that he was a disciple of Christ and he forgot all about the miracles he had witnessed and the teachings he had learned, he forgot all of that.
And because he was a fisherman, Peter was present at the miracle of the catch of 153 fish (John 21:11). Along with a few other disciples, Peter saw Christ standing at the shore and Christ invited them to “Come and eat breakfast” (Jn 21:12), so they did, and in the midst of this gathering Christ called the apostle Peter who had denied Him and asked him, “Peter, do you love Me?” (cf. Jn 21:15).
It is a very short question: Do you love Me? And peter answered the question and repeated his answer once, twice, and three times. And at the end he tells Christ, “Lord, You know that I love You. I love You!” (cf. jn 21:17). And so because he had purified his heart and his heart had become filled with the love of the Master, it was at that very moment that Peter crossed over from being in a state of fear to being in a state of perfect love. And from that moment on, Peter became an evangelist, and he preached in many places and in many countries and his life ended in martyrdom.
This is the step of purity, which is the first step to leads a person to move from a state of fear to a state of love, and it is the resurrection that is able to do this in deed in a person’s life; to transform a person from fear to love, and the one who lives in this love will never fear.
The second step is hope, and of course we know that hope and faith are very closely related. A person who lives in fear always has negative thoughts and inhibiting thoughts, and inhibiting thoughts can lead a person to some very difficult points in life. For example, if a person loses hope, he may reach a stage of despair, or he may even get to the point of suicide.
Hope is a critical step if a person is to move from a state of fear to a state of love. The greatest example of this is Mary Magdalene, who we read about in the Holy Bible. Mary Magdalene was someone who Christ did a great work in. He drove out demons from her (“Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons” Lk 8:2), and she followed him and walked the life of holiness.
And despite all the fear and all the tears and all the questions that must have been in her mind, she went to the tomb hopeful, and this powerful hope that drove her to go to the tomb and search for her Teacher and find Him – this step of hope is no small thing. She overcame her fears and her inner pain and her tears just to go see Christ, even if He was still in the tomb.
For the person who wants to move from a state of fear to a state of love, hope is a necessary step to take. And we see that with Mary, because of the hope she had, when Christ called out her name, personally, the melody of her name fell upon her ears and she recognized that it was the Christ and “She turned and said to Him, ‘Rabboni!’ (which is to say, Teacher)” (Jn 20:16).
And because of her surprise and astonishment she wanted to cling to Christ, but Christ reminded her that she still had a purpose and a mission to fulfill: “Go and tell the news of the resurrection to My disciples” (cf. Jn 20:17).
Beloved one, you who live in many fears, you must keep hope alive within you. So long as your faith is strong and so long as you abide in the joy of the glorious Resurrection, the Resurrection itself will help you with any fears you may have until it brings you to a state of perfect love, and the life of a person who lives in perfect love will be a very joyous one. This is why when we pray we always say to Christ, “You are the Hope of those who have no hope, You are the Help of those who have no help.” Lord, You are our Hope, and through the Resurrection You have transformed fear and despair into joy and hope.
The first step is purity and the second step is hope – a hopeful mind that is full of positive thoughts. There are people whom when you talk to them, their words are always inhibiting (they speak of limitation), or their words leave you in a state of despair, but there is another person whose words make you feel that they always have hope for the future. They see the good and they believe that tomorrow will be better than today, and so on.
3-Building: taking action
As for the third and final step, it is the step of building, and by this I mean taking action. A person who builds starts from the ground and builds up, he works, and so this is the step of ascension, of increase, of growth.
If a person has taken the steps of purity and hope, then he will be active and productive. We hear of the apostle Peter and of Mary Magdalene and of Thomas, Thomas the doubter, who doubted the resurrection of the Lord Christ. But one week after the resurrection, Christ appeared to the disciples and Thomas with them, and He invited Thomas to “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side” (Jn 20:27), and Thomas cried out with a loud and powerful cry, “My Lord and my God” (Jn 20:28), the cry of confession.
And what did you do after that Thomas? Well, can you imagine that Thomas moved from Jerusalem and went all the way to the other side of the world, to India, to preach the Name of Christ there? This was an action step, taking a step of action.
If a person attains purity of heart and a mind of hope, he will be able to build, he will be able to work, he will be able to embrace others and serve them, he will be able to move from a state of fear to a state of love, and this is something that will bring joy to his life. This is what caused David the prophet to one day declare as he did in Psalm 18, “I love You, Lord, my strength” (Ps 18:1 NIV). I love You Lord, my strength.
The Resurrection is not merely a celebration nor is it merely a historical event. Resurrection is a way of life, an experience. And as we are in our homes today, as families, celebrating the glorious Feast of Resurrection and each person, each family member bringing joy to the others and living in joy, in order for us to feel the joy of Resurrection, I invite you to read the writings of our teacher John the beloved, the disciple whom Jesus loved.
John wrote 5 books containing a total of 50 chapters:
1. The Gospel of John – 21 chapters
2. The three Letters of John – 7 chapters
3. The Book of Revelation – 22 chapters
These 5 books with their 50 chapters are perfectly suited to be read during the Holy 50 Days, that we may read them and experience and rejoice in the glorious Resurrection.
We rejoice in the glorious Resurrection and in this Feast, and even though the Church’s celebration is somewhat limited this year, yet the joy of Resurrection cannot be limited by any events for Resurrection is within a person’s heart.
And while it is true that our country and the countries of the world are experiencing a pandemic that is probably the first of its kind, and that the spread of it has led to an increase in the number of people affected by it and who have died from it in many countries, we thank God that our country was warned early on and that she took the necessary steps to help the reduction and quarantining of this virus that is able to reach any human being.
And in the Book of Habakkuk we have a promise from God that was spoken through the mouth of the prophet Habakkuk, it says, “Before Him went pestilence, and fever followed at His feet” (Hab 3:5), and so we have the confidence and awareness that God is able to remove these many fears and troubles.
I send love and greetings to all the fathers, the metropolitans, and the bishops in all the patriarchates in Egypt and across the world, and also to the deacons and archons and Church boards. And I congratulate every Christian home and every family, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, young men and young women and the children, and ever business providing services.
We congratulate all our beloved throughout the whole world. We congratulate our Patriarchate in the See of Jerusalem, in the USA, in Canada, in Latin America, in Europe, in the Sudan, in Africa, and in Australia. May it be a joyous Feast for us all and may we also be a cause of joy to everyone.
We thank everybody and I wish to give a special thank you to the people working in the television and media channels, who have transmitted the live prayers from this monastery, the Monastary of Anba Bishoy in Wadi El Natrun in Egypt, making it so that every home and every Christian family can easily view these prayers. I thank you all for your love.
I encourage you to please continue to stay at home and enjoy this Feast and this spiritual time with your family, this will continue to help in the quarantining and limiting the spread of the virus.
All glory and honor to God, forever and ever. Amen.

Papal Message of Resurrection Feast 2022

Papal Message of Resurrection Feast 2022 – translated into 21 languages 

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

Ekhrestos Anesti … Alithos Anesti

I congratulate you all on the glorious Feast of the Resurrection of the year 2022. I congratulate all the dioceses, Coptic churches, and Coptic monasteries in the east and the west. I congratulate all the fathers:  metropolitans, bishops, and priests and monks. I congratulate all the deacons and members of church boards everywhere. I also congratulate all the Coptic families that are celebrating the glorious Feast of the Resurrection, every family, every father, and every mother. I congratulate the youth, the servants, the elderly, and the children. I congratulate you on this joyful feast that we celebrate every year.

In the life of Christ our Lord, there are many stations. During His public service, which extended for more than three years, there were major stations of miracles, meetings, teaching, and parables, during which the Lord Christ met with His Disciples and with many people, either individually or in groups, throughout His service. One of these major stations was in the place where His Disciples gathered and went to Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13) in northern Palestine. There, He asked them: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13). They answered Him. Then, He asked them the following question: “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). St. Peter the Apostle answered: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This statement was documented in each of the four Gospels in different ways, but it was written in the light of the glorious Resurrection: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This was an important station in the life of the Disciples. Thereafter, He began to speak about what would happen in the coming weeks and months that in His life of service, our Lord Jesus Christ would be delivered, crucified, buried, and then rise again.

Then came the Transfiguration Station (Matthew 17: 1-13), a station where three disciples were gathered. They were Peter, James, and John. Peter represents faith, James represents struggle, and John represents divine love. On Mount Tabor, they met with Jesus Christ, in the presence of Moses and Elijah the Prophets (Matthew 17:1-13). There was a conversation, and the most important part was: “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Matthew 17:4).This is considered a glimpse of eternity, a light from eternity. This is what made the Apostle Peter ask to make three tabernacles to extend their stay in this bright and joyful scene.

After the Transfiguration, as we read in the Gospel of our teacher St. John, or in the four Gospels in general, St. Mark the Apostle may have also referred to it in his Gospel (Mark 9:9) briefly, when He said that “The Son of Man would be delivered, crucified, die, and rise from the dead.” The Disciples began to wonder: What is the resurrection from the dead? The Resurrection, my beloved, is not merely an event that took place in the past, and it is not simply a historical event.

Our celebration of the glorious Resurrection is not just a celebration that took place in the past and is over. The Resurrection is a real beginning to human existence. It is a fresh beginning for man after sin has overtaken him and defeated him, resulting in death. The Resurrection came to be that we may be victorious, and say with St. Paul the Apostle: “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). The Resurrection of the Lord Christ is completely different from all prior miracles of resurrection, in which He raised the dead, such as the son of the widow of Nain, the daughter of Jairus, Or raising Lazarus even after four days of his presence in the tomb. The Resurrection of Christ is completely different because it is resurrection towards human existence. It is a new beginning to human life. Oh, how happy are those who enjoy this resurrection.

Let us stand together at the final scenes of the Resurrection. The first is at the Cross. It is a scene full of pain, sadness, and many sufferings. We have all passed through the Passion Week with all its readings, chants, and hymns. And we experienced and lived with the Savior hour by hour. The station at the Cross is that of pain and concludes at the tomb. Christ was crucified on the Cross, during the reign of Pontius Pilate, as we say in the Creed. Then He was placed in a new tomb where no one had been placed before. The tomb became a place where all dreams end and one of hopelessness; it is the station of death. Although this period lasted only three days, these were days of fear, panic, and terror. We sense these tribulations as we read in the four Gospels. Even the Disciples themselves were in great distress and panic. God did not leave them to fall in despair, but on the third day, Sunday’s dawn, He rose from the dead. He Who was here, Jesus Christ, “He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:6). We read in the Gospel of our teacher St. John: “Then the Disciples were glad when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20).This is the joy of the Resurrection by which a human becomes glad and joyful.

In the beginning of each day, we rise from sleep, and at the beginning of each midnight praise, we say: “Arise, O children of light,” O children of the Resurrection. The resurrection becomes an action, a life, and a daily presence in the human’s life. When we live the Resurrection, we not only live it during the feast’s celebration period, But the joy of the Resurrection extends and radiates throughout our Church, and on all our occasions, our feasts, and fasts, and throughout the entire liturgical calendar: Our daily matins prayer represents an enactment of the Resurrection, as we say: “In Your light, O Lord, we see the light.” On Sunday of every week, we celebrate this “day that the Lord has made.” On the 29th of every Coptic month, we celebrate and commemorate the Annunciation, the Nativity, and the Resurrection. Every year, we celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection not for a single day, but for seven weeks that end on the fiftieth day, and we call that period, “The Holy Fifties.” The celebration of the Resurrection therefore lasts not just for an hour, or a day, or a month, but the entire year. And in all our rituals, such as the rite of metanias, or the prostrations to the ground, when we kneel to the ground and say, “My Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me a sinner.” A person prostrates and then stands up, remembering that the Resurrection is what allowed him this blessing, to rise from his mistakes and sins.

The joy of the Resurrection must be lived by all of us. Also, we must extend it to each other. Each one of us should be a source of joy for others. The question that you can ask yourselves daily is: Did you make someone happy today? Can you, through your life, or through the meaning of the glorious Resurrection in you, or through your relationship with Christ, or by attending your Church, or through partaking of the holy Mysteries, or by reading the holy Bible. Do you make everyone around you happy? Are you a reason for joy? The Resurrection calls you to be a source of happiness for everyone.

Do not forget, beloved, that we often repeat the word “Alleluia” in the Church. Alleluia means, “Rejoice to God,” Rejoice all of you. All our spiritual practice aims for us to rejoice, and its goal is to live the Resurrection. As I said at the beginning of my talk, when Christ rose from the dead, He wanted to give us this joy to live by daily. To testify to it, teach it, practice it, and rejoice in it. The glorious Resurrection is a calling to eternal delight. All the spiritual practices we offer, their ultimate goal is to rejoice, so that our joy may be fulfilled in eternal bliss.

Do not forget that in the Resurrection, we meet with many different individuals. In the Resurrection, we rejoice with all the characters and all personalities, that were there before us in the events of the glorious Resurrection. We rejoice with John the Beloved, the only disciple who remained with Christ until the Cross. Christ entrusted him with His Mother, the Virgin Mary. This was a lesson on loyalty and an image of the Resurrection. We also rejoice with Mary Magdalene, who was the first to go to the tomb. She saw and witnessed the risen Christ and called him “‘Rabboni!’ (which is to say, Teacher)” (John 20:16). This was a lesson on loyalty as well. In the Resurrection, we also see Thomas the skeptic. Jesus appeared to His Disciples in the presence of Thomas a week after the Resurrection, while He had appeared before multiple times. Thomas was the disciple who was called by the Lord to put his finger in the print of the nails, and to put his hand into His side. So, he shouted, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:26-28).

I hope that the joy of the Resurrection fills your life always, in every church, every diocese, and with all those who serve. I send my congratulations to you from the beloved land of Egypt, I offer them to you on behalf of all the members of the Holy Synod, and on behalf of the whole Coptic Orthodox Church here in Egypt. May we all rejoice in the glorious Resurrection.

Ekhrestos Anesti … Alithos Anesti

H.H. Pope Tawadros II


Pope Tawadros II message of the Glorious Feast of Resurrection - 2019

The Papal message of the Glorious Feast of Resurrection - 2019

In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, One God, Amen.

Ekhristos Anesti, Alithos Anesti

Christ is risen. Truly, He is risen

I congratulate you my beloved on the feast of the resurrection according to our eastern calendar. I congratulate our entire Coptic community in each diocese and all Coptic churches worldwide spanning all five continents. I congratulate our fathers the metropolitans, bishops, priests, deacons, and all the clergy. Also all the congregation including youth, children, elders and all Coptic families. I congratulate you all on this feast that is our first joy. According to our faith and doctrine, the resurrection is the basis of Christianity.

When we contemplate the events of the Resurrection, we behold these 3 days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday of the crucifixion or Good Friday; Then joyful Saturday, the Saturday of expectation; Then Sunday of the Resurrection, that is the Sunday of victory. Let us review what St. Paul wrote when he spoke about Christianity. He was a philosopher and great theologian. In his 14 epistles, he wrote extensively about Christ, the church, the resurrection, and eternal life. However, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 13, He wrote an immortal poem about love, written in 13 verses. In the last verse, he mentions ‘Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest is Love.’ (1 Corinthians 13:13). These three are the three days that altered the history of the world and life of humanity.

Read more: Pope Tawadros II message of the Glorious Feast of Resurrection - 2019