Kristus (ir) augšāmcēlies! Patiesi viņš ir augšāmcēlies!
St. Justin of Ćelije Popovich
Life in the one true God and Lord Jesus Christ is really our only true life because it is wholly eternal and completely stronger than death.
There is no end to the love of the Lord Christ for man: because for us men to acquire the life eternal which is in Him, and to live by Him, nothing is required of us-not learning, nor glory, nor wealth, nor anything else that one of us does not have, but rather only that which each of us can have. And that is? Faith in the Lord Christ. For this reason did He, the Only Friend of Man, reveal to the human race this wondrous good tiding: God so loved the world that He gave His Only-Begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. He that believes in the Son has eternal life (John 3: 16-36).
Faith in the Lord Christ unites man with the eternal Lord Who, according to the measure of man’s faith, pours out in his soul eternal life so that he then feels and realizes himself to be eternal. And this he feels to a greater degree inasmuch as he lives according to that faith which gradually sanctifies his soul, heart, conscience, his entire being, by the grace-filled Divine energies. In proportion to the faith of a man the sanctification of his nature increases. And the holier the man is, the stronger and more vivid is his feeling of personal immortality and the consciousness of his own and everybody else’s immortality.
Actually, a man’s real life begins with his faith in the Lord Christ, which commits all his soul, all his heart, all his strength to the Lord Christ, Who gradually sanctifies, transfigures, deifies them.
In reality, our life is life inasmuch as it is in Christ. And as much as it is in Christ is shown by its holiness: the holier a life, the more immortal and more eternal it is.
Faith is indeed the revival of the soul from lethargy, the resurrection of the soul from the dead: “he was dead, and is alive: (Luke 15: 24). Man experienced this resurrection of the soul from death for the first time with the God-man Christ and constantly experiences it in His holy Church, since all of Him is found in Her. And He gives Himself to all believers through the holy mysteries and the holy virtues. Where He is, there is no longer death: there one has already passed from death to life. With the Resurrection of Christ we celebrate the deadening of death, the beginning of a new, eternal life.
True life on earth indeed begins from the Resurrection of the Savior, for it does not end in death. Without the Resurrection of Christ human life is nothing else but a gradual dying which finally inevitably ends in death.
Life is real life only in God, for it is a holy life and by virtue of this an immortal life. just as in sin is death, so in holiness is immortality. Only with faith in the risen Lord Christ does man experience the most crucial miracle of his existence: the passover from death to immortality, from transitoriness into eternity, from hell to heaven.Only then does man find himself, his true self, his eternal self: “for he was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found” (Luke 15: 24).
If you are in the midst of visible enemies and persecutors of the Church of Christ, the Lives of the Saints will give you the courage and strength of a confessor, and you will fearlessly confess the one true God and Lord in all worlds-Jesus Christ-and you will boldly stand up for the holy truth of His Gospel unto death, unto every death, and you will feel stronger than all deaths, and much more so than all visible enemies of Christ, and being tortured for Christ you will shout for joy, feeling with all your being that your life is in heaven, hidden with Christ in God, wholly above all deaths.
Taken from Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ,Introduction to the Lives of the Saints,by Father Justin Popovich. Trans. by Asterios Gerostergios (Belmont, MA: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1994).
Kontakion in the Fourth Tone
Cultivated by God, you became manifest as an honorable tiller gathering for yourself the sheaves of virtue. For you sowed with tears but reaped with gladness; in the contest you competed with your blood and came away with Christ. By your intercessions, O Holy One, all are granted forgiveness of sins.