By Justine Frangouli-Argyris
The Greek Orthodox celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate celebration of Christianity. The Resurrection, Jesus' return to life following his crucifixion, symbolizes the purification of the soul and a spiritual uplifting, consistent with the onset of nature's spring. Throughout Holy Week, Orthodoxy is in grieving for Christ's ascent to Calvary and his crucifixion but on the day of the Resurrection there is the cleansing from sin and the restart of the human race.
But what does the Resurrection mean for the Greek Orthodox? What is the spiritual breadth of that great day for Christianity?
According to the Orthodox religion, the Resurrection of the Lord shows how Christ, the only begotten Son of God out of love and charity, came to save the sinners. It all began with the commitment of the Lord himself to rebuild mankind. It continued with his holy life. Our Lord, through words and deeds, "revealed the true virtues that restore mankind to paradise lost." And it ended in his sacrifice and his passion through which he offers people forgiveness from sins and the restoration of the original communion with God.
On the Day of Resurrection, the Orthodox celebrate the brilliant rebirth of Jesus Christ because in this day the uncreated and imperishable light of the Lord, the Creator and Redeemer of the world, shines from the grave. Christ is the true light that enlightens every man coming into the world. He is the light that shines in the darkness, a light that darkness can not conquer. It is the light that gives life, true, infinite, eternal life. Those who acquire it are rendered the ability to become children of God, to know his glory, to savour the power of his grace.
The "Great and Sacred" Easter is the feast of feasts, the predominant glorious moment of Orthodox Christianity. It is the great day that brings more joy, more exquisite brilliance and glory, because it shows the divine light that radiates through the deified human nature of the risen Christ. Thanks to the Resurrection of Christ, human nature appears dressed with the resplendent garment of divine immortality and eternity and opens the way for the Resurrection of all.
In light of the Resurrection, our fears are diminished, our doubts defeated and our faith strengthened as Paul the Apostle teaches: "We,...We believe...knowing that Christ is risen so we can rise though Christ."
In light of the Resurrection, we can clearly distinguish the most compelling evidence of the unconditional love of God, the definitive evidence of eternal life that will inspire us and encourage us to walk the path of repentance, penance and sacrifice. In light of the Resurrection, we can reinvent the way towards a more authentic existence, the way to another purer life.
Whoever is impregnated by the light of the Resurrection is not daunted by pain nor sorrow nor disease, as heavy and difficult or even fatal as it can be, because none of this can detract from the final abolition of the death and the reinvention of life.
The light of the Resurrection leaves no disappointment and no barrier to besiege us but makes us move towards building the unshakeable foundation of the Lord. Because God forgives, we find the strength to forgive. Because God loves us, we find the strength to love.
This year, however, the Resurrection is not only spiritual in nature for Greece. After a devastating economic crisis that began in 2010, the country is showing signs of growth and a primary budgetary surplus and was recently able to tap the financial markets, floating a five-year bond at 4,95% that was many times oversubscribed. This year, the Greeks will roast their lambs once more in the feast of the Resurrection of Christ but also in the Resurrection of their country's economy and their hearts.