Thursday, April 16, 2015

Witnesses of the Resurrection

For forty days all the Orthodox Christians will greet each other by claiming ‘Christ is Risen!’ This proclamation is what gives hope to all the people in the world. This is the phrase which gave hope and encouragement to the martyrs of the faith. The Church chants the hymn: ‘Christ has Risen from the dead. By death He has trampled upon death, and to those in the tombs He has given life.’ This allows us all to become witnesses of the Resurrection, glorifying the Son of God.

It is interesting to understand this witness. The Apostles had witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, as Peter claimed on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 32): ‘This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.’ Someone was considered an Apostle if he was present from the Baptism of Christ until his martyrdom and death for the Resurrected Jesus. Therefore, a criterion for the apostolicity of an individual was the witness of Resurrection. That is why Apostle Matthias took Judas’ place, because he was present during the life and teaching of Christ and saw him after his Resurrection. In Acts (1:21-22) we read: ‘Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.’

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