“It is the day of Resurrection. O People, let us be enlightened by it.
The Passover is the Lord’s Passover, since Christ, our God, has brought us from death to life,
and from earth to heaven.
Therefore we sing the hymn of victory!”
The words above are from Ode 1 of the Resurrection Canon sung at Resurrection Matins in our Byzantine Catholic churches. The words summarize what the Resurrection of Jesus Christ accomplished across all measures of time and space for all people. Our hymn of victory is our proclamation that “Christ is Risen” and that He is our God, “the Giver of Life”.
Our Hymn of Victory is made visual each time we see the symbolic letters of
IC XC NIKA, shorthand derived from the Greek language meaning JESUS CHRIST CONQUERS! Everytime we see these letters — on icons, on our hymnal books, in stained glass windows, and also imprinted on the prosphora the priest uses for Holy Communion — we are emboldened with strength in knowing that regardless of any hardships we have, that Christ triumphs over darkness.
We turn to Christ as a trusting child, knowing that the victory he has won for us is the answer.
The victory of our Risen Savior is found in another beautiful hymn sung at Resurrection Matins, the Hypakoje, gives a wonderful description of what we read in the New Testament — the discovery of the empty tomb, and along with this, a short command given to the “myrrh-bearing” women to act immediately. A call to action, nonetheless! This is also a command for us to go and be disciples. To joyfully proclaim the same wonderous news to all. When we share the “kerygma” we are following in the footsteps of the women at the tomb who in their discovery were the first to proclaim the revelation of the good news.
“The women with Mary, before the dawn, found the stone rolled away from the tomb – And they, heard the Angel say: ‘Why do you seek among the dead as a mortal , the One who abides in everlasting light? Behold, the linens of burial – Go in haste and proclaim to the world – that having, conquered Death, the Lord is risen for He is the Son of God, the Savior of mankind.”
And as we rejoice and celebrate, we sing with emphasis the words of another refrain:
“All you who been baptized into Christ, have been clothed with Christ! Alleluia!
The church wisely reminds us that we are clothed in Christ as having been initiated into the Body of Christ through the Sacraments. We live in Christ and Christ lives in us. This is such a great gift freely and sacrificially earned for us by our Lord and Savior. Such a victory! Such a gift ! No one can give such a valuable gift as this ! Every time we receive the Sacraments, we renew our life in Christ. Let us be mindful when we approach the Sacraments, such as Holy Communion, who we are receiving and what a sacred privilege to be so closely united with Christ, to be filled with all the graces and love He pours into our soul.
Not inconsequentially — our promise to God in our baptism is to live our Christian beliefs, all that Jesus taught his own disciples. We are pledged and commissioned, just as the angel instructed the women at the empty tomb, to share through action and words, the message and joy of the Gospel.
This is why in the Byzantine Catholic Church we sing repeatedly: “Christ is Risen!” It is just as He foretold. The amazing power of God.
May we strive with unfailing intention, to bring the spirit of that first Easter and evidence of our life in Christ to those we encounter along our life path.
Christ is Risen ! Indeed He IS Risen !
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