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June 8, 2016 + "Condemned" to Be Immortal: Part 5

by St. Justin Popovich
(...continued from Part 4)

Indeed, if there is one fact with which one could summarize all of the events in the life of Christ and of the Apostles, and more generally in all of Christianity, that event would be the Resurrection of Christ. Moreover, if there is a reality which summarizes all of the realities of the New Testament, that reality would be the Resurrection of Christ. And finally, if there is one miracle in the Gospels which can be said to summarize all of the miracles reported in the New Testament, that miracle would be the Resurrection of Christ. For only within the light of the Resurrection are the person of Jesus Christ and His work made miraculously known. Only within the light of the Resurrection are the miracles of Christ, all of His truths, all of His words, and all of the events of the New Testament fully explained.

Up to the time of His Resurrection, the Lord taught about eternal life; but in the Resurrection, He shows us that He Himself is Eternal Life. Up to the time of His Resurrection, He taught about the Resurrection from the dead; but in the Resurrection, He showed that He Himself was indeed the resurrection of the dead. Up to the time of His Resurrection, He taught that belief in Him took one from death to life; but in His Resurrection, He showed that He Himself had conquered death and had thus assured those afflicted by death of passage from death to resurrection. Yes, O indeed, yes: the God-Man Jesus Christ, by His Resurrection, showed and demonstrated that He is the only true God, the only God-Man among all humankind.

And something further: without the Resurrection of the God-Man, it would be impossible to explain the witness of the Apostles, or the martyrdom of the Martyrs, or the confessions of the Confessors, or the holiness of the Holy, or the ascetic labor of the Ascetics, or the wonders of the Wonder-Workers, or the faith of the Faithful, or the love of those of love, or the hope of the hopeful, or the prayer of the prayerful, or the repentance of the repentant, or the mercies of the merciful, or any Christian virtue or labor. Had the Lord not risen as the Resurrected One and had He not filled His Disciples with life-giving power and miraculous wisdom, what could have brought these cowardly and fugitive men together, giving them the courage and the strength and the wisdom so fearlessly to preach and to confess the Resurrected Christ and to go with such joy even to death on His behalf? And if the Resurrected Savior did not fill them with His divine power and wisdom, how could they have ignited in the world the inextinguishable fire of the New Testamental Faith, these simple, unlearned, and poor men? If the Christian Faith were not a faith in the Resurrection and, as a consequence, in the Eternally-Living and Life-Giving Lord, who would have been able to inspire the Martyrs in the feat of martyrdom, the Confessors in the feat of confession, the Ascetics in the feats of asceticism, the Unmercenaries in the feat of penury, the Fasters in their feats of abstinence, and any Christian in any Christian feat?

Thus it is that all of these things are true for me and for every human being —through the Resurrection of Christ. The Wondrous and Sweet Jesus Christ, the Resurrected God-Man, is the only Being under the heavens in whom man here on earth can conquer death and sin and the devil and come to blessedness and immortality —becoming a partaker, indeed, of the Eternal Kingdom of the Love of Christ. For the human being, the Resurrected Christ is the all in all throughout mankind: all that is Beautiful, Good, True, Precious, Harmonious, Sacred, Wise, and Everlasting. He is all of our Love, all of our Truth, all of our Joy, all of our Life, the Eternal Life unto all the sacred eternities and infinities.

Translated from the Greek by Archbishop Chrysostomos of Etna. From a series of theological essays, Anthropos kai Theanthropos (Athens, 1970). The Greek text is a translation of the Serbian original. Translation appeared in Orthodox Tradition, Vol. 4, No. 2 (1987), pp. 38-42. Accessed at http://orthodoxinfo.com/death/condemned.aspx.

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Translation of the Relics of the Great Martyr Theodore Stratelates

Troparion, Tone 4

Truly enlisted with the King of Heaven,  you became an outstanding general for Him, passion-bearer Theodore;  you armed yourself wisely with the weapons of faith and conquered hordes of demons, revealing yourself as a victorious athlete. Therefore, in faith we always call you blessed.

Kontakion, Tone 2

Podoben: “Seeking the highest...”
With the word of God as a spear in your hand, in courage of soul and armed with faith, you vanquished the enemy, O Theodore, glory of martyrs; with them you unceasingly pray to Christ God for us all.


Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston Homepage

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