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May 11, 2016 + "Condemned" to Be Immortal: Part 1

by St. Justin Popovich

Men have condemned God to death; God, however, has by His Resurrection "sentenced" men to immortality. In return for their buffets, He offers embraces; for their insults, blessings; for death, immortality. Never have men shown such enmity for God as when they crucified Him; and never has God shown such love for men as He did in resurrecting. Men wish to render God mortal, but God by His Resurrection designed to make men immortal. The crucified God resurrected and overcame death. Death is no more. Immortality has overtaken man and the whole of his world.

Through the Resurrection of the God-Man, the nature of man has been led irrevocably to the path of immortality, and death has thus become fearful. For, before the Resurrection of Christ, death was something feared by man; but after the Resurrection of the Lord, man has become something fearful for death. If a man lives in Faith within the Resurrected God-Man, he lives above death. He stands impregnable by death. Death is transformed into a "footstool beneath his feet": "O death, where is thy victory? O Hades, where is thy sting?" (I Corinthians 15:55). Therefore, when a man in Christ breathes his last, he sheds only the shell of his body, to be clothed with it once again on the day of the Second Coming.

Until the Resurrection of the God-Man Christ, death was the second nature of man; the first was life, the second death. Man had become used to death as something natural. But with the Resurrection of the Lord, all things changed: immortality became the second nature of man. It has become something natural to man, whereas death is rendered unnatural. Just as before the Resurrection of Christ it was natural for man to be mortal, so after His Resurrection it has become natural for man to be immortal.

Through sin, man was made mortal and limited; through the Resurrection of the God-Man, he becomes immortal and eternal. In this precisely lie the power, the dominion, and the omnipotence of the Resurrection of Christ. Moreover, without the Resurrection of Christ there would be no Christianity at all. Among miracles, the greatest of all is the Resurrection of the Lord. All of the other miracles spring forth form the Resurrection and are centered within it. From it spring forth faith, love, hope, prayer, and godliness. The fugitive Disciples, they who fled far from Jesus when He died, returned to Him when he resurrected. And the Roman centurion, when he saw Christ resurrect from the tomb, confessed Him as the Son of God. It was in this way that all of the early Christians became Christians —because Christ resurrected, because He conquered death. This is that which not one other religion has; it is this, the Resurrection, which exalts Christ above all other men and above all other gods. It is this which, in a singular and indisputable manner, shows and proves that Christ is the only true God and Lord of all the seen and unseen worlds.

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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Commemoration of the Founding of Constantinople

Troparion, Tone 4

The city of the Theotokos dedicates its foundation as an offering to the Theotokos. For it has been established to remain in Her, and it lives and is strengthened through Her, crying out to Her, "Hail, the hope of all the ends of the earth."


Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston Homepage

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