Joint 2017 Easter message from the Presidents of CCEE and CEC
St. Gallen/Bruxelles, 13 April 2017
Christ is risen!
Jesus Christ, God’s incarnate son who came to us and was killed on the cross for human sin, is risen from the dead! This is the good news of our faith we would like to share with the entire world. The Christian Easter celebration means that through Jesus Christ life triumphs over death, hope over despair, and peace over conflict. The raising of the Lamb of God from the dead cleaves history; nothing is as it was before Christ’s resurrection.
The crucifixion is an ongoing reality: human life is violated and creation is exploited. Through war, greed, and injustice, life is under threat and being destroyed. For too many, too often the world is marked by violence and by fear, but Jesus Christ is stronger than our closed doors or walls in our heart. He enters to say: “Peace be with you” (John 20: 21).
We hold especially close in our prayers those Christians who are persecuted and are unable to celebrate the resurrection in freedom and peace. They are the suffering body of Christ. We also hold especially close in our prayers our many brothers and sisters in Christ who have died for professing their faith, and those who continue to witness and work for mutual respect and dialogue in dangerous situations. They are an exemplar for us. They call Christians in Europe to be courageous in their faith, and to witness with joy and conviction the infinite love of God. They call Christians in Europe to stand with those most in need, without regard for nationality or religion—the poor, sick and elderly, mothers and children, the imprisoned, refugees, and all those excluded from our societies.
The current divisions among Christians wound the body of Christ, but today—when the Churches in the east and the west celebrate the cross and the resurrection at the same time—we proclaim our common faith in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer who stood up and rose from death. We renew our commitment to the path of unity and we invite our Christian communities be a sign of joy in faith, of selfless love, and a presence of hope for a world called to be reconciled with itself and with God.
Together, we share in the joy of the decisiveness of the resurrection of Christ, who stands in our midst and assures us, “I will be with you until the end of times.” (Mt 28:20)
Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, Archbishop of Genoa, President of CEI and President of CCEE
Rt Rev. Christopher Hill KCVO, DD, Church of England, CEC President