"All I want is to know Christ and the power
of His Resurrection and to share His sufferings"
(Philippians ch. 3 v.10).
Sisters and Brothers here and in all the
We greet you in the name of our Risen Lord and ask God to
fill you with the joy and the strength of the Resurrection.
Having opposed early Christians and, indeed,
sought to bring many of them to trial for their faith, St.
Paul I suddenly challenged by our Blessed Lord as he
journeyed to Damascus. Within a short time he became a
powerful messenger for Jesus. Reading his various Epistles
we see he has much to say on many aspects of the Christian
Faith. The statement he sets before the Philippians is
regarded by many people as the most powerful: "All I want is
to know Christ & the power of His Resurrection & to share
His sufferings". In this short sentence he links the Cross
and the Resurrection. The sufferings he has to face for his
faith lead him to become conscious of the power of the
Resurrection given to those who truly believe, through the
power of the Holy Spirit.
Yet again, recent months have shown us much
of the hardships and sufferings people have to endure, not
least in this Land. Much of this burden has arisen from
man's inhumanity to man together with his deprivation of
basic human dignity and rights, as it happens to us because
of the siege imposed upon us.
Our Blessed Lord challenges all of us that if
we would be His disciples we must take up our Cross and
follow Him. In the midst of sufferings we reach the power of
the Resurrection and the power of the Spirit that enables us
to take away the oppressions that are imposed upon us.
So, as we celebrate the joy of Easter we must
examine carefully where we stand in relation to God. Many of
us need to abandon the selfish instinct within us. If we
would truly seek the power of the Resurrection in our lives
then we must disregard any idea we might have of
self-sufficiency or worldly hopes that hide from our eyes
the things of heaven and of the Spirit. If we believe in the
Resurrection, we must affirm that our security is with God
and in the power of the Resurrection. Again St. Paul reminds
us when writing to the Corinthians:
"We have this treasure. It is in earthen vessels, to show
that the transcendent Power belong to God and not to us" (2
Corinthians ch.4 v.1).
Despite our weakness and despite the unjust
circumstances imposed upon us, the power of God can free us
if we come to understand the logic of the Spirit in us and
if we accept to behave accordingly.
On the first Good Friday the disciples of
Jesus doubtless felt shattered. However, gradually their
faith was restored as they became conscious of their Risen
Lord. Their own personal darkness of fear and uncertainty
was suddenly illuminated by the light of Jesus' Resurrection.
So as we celebrate the Resurrection we must
be more diligent in searching for the light and in using it
to build a better tomorrow for all of us, Palestinians or
Israelis, Moslems, Jews, Christians and Druzes. WE research
for the light that comes from God, illuminates all Creation,
guides every true believer in his search, and helping him to
find God's freedom for all His people together with His
peace and justice.
As we greet our sisters and brothers across
the world we wish them the joy of Easter and the power of
the Risen Lord in their daily lives. Whilst conscious of the
care and concern shown by many of you we again would ask for
your particular prayers for this Land that God will guide
all its governors and show them the path of justice and
equality between all. Pray for the newly formed Unity
Government of the Palestinians together with the Israeli
Government and the Arab Initiative, to work for taking away
fear and hence all oppression, the walls, the barriers and
the prisons, so that hearts become full of trust and all can
enjoy the same freedom and the same dignity. Then we would
ask that you make a particular effort to encourage your
particular nation to stop the embargo imposed upon us and to
restore its aid to the Palestinians. Many vital areas of
community are in a desperate plight as a result of the
withholding of this aid- not least justice, economy, medical
and educational etc….
As all Christians across the world celebrate
Easter together we wish everyone, at home and abroad, that
joy which our Blessed Lord's Resurrection brings. We ask God
to bestow upon all the joy and the power of the resurrection
so that the words of Jesus become real as He said: "I have
come so that they may have life and have it to he full".
(St .John ch.10 v.10).
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!
May you experience a Happy and Holy Easter!
Jerusalem, April 2007
Patriarchs and Heads of the Churches in
Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem
Patriarch Michel Sabbah, R.C. Latin
Patriarch Torkom I Manooghian, Armenian Orthodox
Fr. Pierbattista Pizziballa, ofm, Custos of the Holy Land
Archbishop Anba Abraham, Coptic Orthodox
Archbishop Swerios Malki Murad, Syrian – Orthodox
Archbishop Abouna Mattias, Ethiopian Orthodox
Archbishop Paul Sayyah, Maronite
Bishop Suheil Dawani, Anglican
Bishop Munib Younan, Lutheran
Bishop Pierre Malki, Syrian- Catholic
Bishop George Baker, Greek Catholic
Fr. Rafael Minassian, Armenian Catholic