L’archimandrita Justin Popovic (1894-1979) è stato una delle figure più eminenti dell’Ortodossia del Novecento. Canonizzato dalla Chiesa serba nel 2010, fu docente dal 1935 presso la Facoltà di Teologia di Belgrado, impegno abbandonato, per ordine del regime comunista, nel 1945. Padre Justin condusse, da allora, vita ritirata in monastero proseguendo, malgrado le difficili condizioni, il suo lavoro di approfondimento spirituale. In occasione della Pasqua ortodossa proponiamo, in lingua inglese, uno dei suoi più significativi testi dedicati alla solennità.
Man sentenced God to death; by His Resurrection, He sentenced man to immortality. In return for a beating, He gives an embrace; for abuse, a blessing; for death, immortality. Man never showed so much hate for God as when he crucified Him; and God never showed more love for man than when He arose. Man even wanted to reduce God to a mortal, but God by His Resurrection made man immortal. The crucified God is Risen and has killed death. Death is no more. Immortality has surrounded man and all the world. By the Resurrection of the God-Man, human nature has been led irreversibly onto the path of immortality, and has become dreadful to death itself. For before the Resurrection of Christ, death was dreadful to man, but after the Resurrection of Christ, man has become more dreadful to death. When man lives by faith in the Risen God-Man, he lives above death, out of its reach; it is a footstool for his feet…
Because of the Resurrection of Christ, because of His victory over death, men have become, continue to become, and will continue becoming Christians. The entire history of Christianity is nothing other than the history of a unique miracle, namely, the Resurrection of Christ, which is unbrokenly threaded through the hearts of Christians form one day to the next, from year to year, across the centuries, until the Dread Judgment. Man is born, in fact, not when his mother bring him into the world, but when he comes to believe in the Risen Christ, for then he is born to life eternal, whereas a mother bears children for death, for the grave. The Resurrection of Christ is the mother of us all, all Christians, the mother of immortals. By faith in the Resurrection, man is born anew, born for eternity. “That is impossible!” says the skeptic. But you listen to what the Risen God-Man says:
“All things are possible to him that believeth!” (Mark 9:23 ).
The believer is he who lives, with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his being, according to the Gospel of the Risen Lord Jesus. Faith is our victory, by which we conquer death; faith in the Risen Lord Jesus… For us Christians, our life on earth is a school in which we learn how to assure ourselves of resurrection and life eternal. For what use is this life if we cannot acquire by it life eternal? But, in order to be resurrected with the Lord Christ, man must first suffer with Him, and live His life as his own. If he does this, then on Pascha he can say with Saint Gregory the Theologian: “Yesterday I was crucified with Him, today I live with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him, today I rise with Him” (Troparion 2, Ode 3, Matins, Pascha). Christ’s Four Gospels are summed up in only four words. They are:
“Christ is Risen! Indeed He is risen!”
In each of these words is a Gospel, and in the Four Gospels is all the meaning of all God’s world, visible and invisible. When all knowledge and all the thoughts of men are concentrated in the cry of the Paschal salutation, “Christ is Risen!”, then immortal joy embraces all beings and in joy responds: “Indeed He is risen!”