of His Eminence Agafangel
Bishop of Taurida
Christ is Risen!
Honorable bishops and pastors, dear brothers and sisters!
For you were called to freedom, brethren…(Galatians 5:13) Apostle Paul declares in his epistle to all of us.
Our Lord Jesus Christ became the first man, from the time of Adam, to be free from the sovereignty of sin and death. And He, through His Resurrection, endows all people with the possibility to be similarly free – and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:32)
The life within Christ’s Church (just as with every faithful follower of Christ) existed and exists free from any dependence, no matter how small, on the outside world, and this freedom is one of the most important aspects of the Church – where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17) The church’s freedom is founded upon and is inseparably linked to its Unity, Holiness, Collegiality and apostolic succession, which profoundly distinguishes it from other religious movements and the rampant permissiveness of this world. God calls upon us all to acquire and treasure this freedom, without which real spiritual growth is unthinkable. It was for freedom that Christ set us free; and therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1) These words of the apostle yet again take on special relevance in our age, as we find ourselves in circumstances where a system of global control is steadily being established in society. We must clearly see all the processes occurring around the Church, lest, without even knowing it, we become helpless slaves to one external power or another. At the same time, it makes no sense for us to reject and deny those societal structures which, though they have no bearing on the essential nature of the Church, allow secular unity. The truth is always free from extremes, and that, I believe, presents the greatest difficulty for those who desire to abide in it.
I congratulate all of you with the priceless gift of freedom, which we have received from the Resurrected Lord, the value of which cannot be supplanted by any riches of the world surrounding us.
I congratulate you with the glorious Resurrection of Christ!
Truly, Christ is Risen!
Bishop of Taurida and
Chairman of the Provisional Supreme Ecclesiastical Authority
of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad