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CommunityChurchThe Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in The Saint Nicholas National...

The Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in The Saint Nicholas National Shrine

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My Beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As we gather in our Churches for Holy Week and the celebration of Pascha, I am so very happy to share with all of you the magnificent image of the Resurrection – the Anastasis – that will be the glory of our Saint Nicholas National Shrine. This icon, beautifully rendered by Fr. Loukas of Mount Athos, pays tribute to the Heroes of 9/11 – those brave Fire, Police, and Emergency Responders who climbed up the Twin Towers to save others. Those Heroes of September Eleventh are memorialized forever in the presence of the Risen Christ, as part of the Assembly of the Redeemed, joining the Prophets David and Solomon, John the Baptist, and the Righteous Abel. These brave 415 men and women rushed in where truly Angels might fear to tread. They embraced the danger to themselves in order to rescue others – total strangers, but fellow human beings. Their manifestation of the “Greater Love” (John 15:13) that was first spoken of by our Lord Jesus Christ on the night in which He gave Himself up for the life of the world, is truly worthy of a special place of honor and remembrance within the Shrine that rests upon the hallowed ground where they sacrificed themselves for the sake of others.

Our affirmation of the Resurrection in this wondrous Icon is, of course, a reverent likeness of the world renown Icon of the Anastasis in the Chora Monastery Church in Constantinople.

We behold our Lord Jesus Christ in His resurrected glory, lifting Adam and Eve from their tombs, even as He stands over the shattered gates of death and Hell. He is surrounded by the Prophets who foretold His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, and by the Righteous who are partakers of His victory over death.

On September Eleventh, so much unjust death was dealt on innocent souls – ordinary people who were simply living their lives. In that horrific attack, we witnessed not only the worst of humanity, but in the courageous souls who scaled those Towers, we saw the best. In our Anastasis, we remember them, and count them among the Righteous, worthy to stand in the presence of the Risen Lord.

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This Holy Week, when we remember all that the Lord endured for our salvation: the spitting, the blows with the palm of the hand, the buffeting, the mockery, the reviling, the wearing of the purple robe, the reed, the sponge, the vinegar, the nailing, the lance, and above all, the Crucifixion and Death, we remember those who endured frightful deaths as they sacrificed themselves for others. We believe that our Lord Jesus Christ was with them in their hour of need, and that He is with them now in the fore-feast of the Resurrection.

May their memories be eternal, and may our Saint Nicholas National Shrine forever hold their sacrifice in honor.

Καλὴ Άνάσταση!


†ELPIDOPHOROS
Archbishop of America

 

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