Our Anchor of Hope
Today creation all is exultant and rejoices, for Christ has arisen, and Hades was despoiled … For You really and truly pledged that You will be with us unto the end of the age, O Christ. And we the faithful, clinging to Your promise, our anchor of hope, rejoice. Easter Sunday Matins
The significant historical events in the history of humanity that remain unsurpassed by other events are that God made humanity in His image and likeness, that humanity fell through disobedience to God, that God became human in the Person of Jesus Christ “for us and for our salvation,” (Creed) and that he re-opened Paradise and restored mankind through His Resurrection. All other human endeavours fall short of these events and acts of love by God for us.
As we celebrate throughout this issue the 200 years anniversary of the commencement of the independence struggle by our Greek forbears, we reflect on how Christ’s Resurrection impacted upon them, and the lessons we draw from that today as we celebrate His Resurrection.
The word resurrection was used by freedom fighters such as Ypsilantis in terms of the hour of Greece’s resurrection, and in appealing to the European courts Petros Mavromichalis spoke of resurrecting our unfortunate people, and nationalist leaders in the village of Milies on Mount Pelion toasted: “Christ is risen, long live the resurrection of the homeland, long live liberty.” Austrian intelligence reported that the Resurrection was represented among the decorative motifs on the Greek revolutionary flags. General Makriyannis’ memoirs referred to “the will of the just God to resurrect their descendants, whose homeland had been lost for so many centuries. And it was that they might remember their faith that the true God resurrected them.”
The freedom fighters did not merely associate resurrection with insurrection or liberation. They clung to the “anchor of hope” chanted in Easter Sunday Matins that Christ will be with us to the end of the age. They hoped that the Resurrected Christ would bless them because they also fought for the reestablishment of His persecuted church.
Christ liberated us from the oppression of sin, from eternal estrangement, from despair to hope through His resurrection. They looked to be liberated from oppression so they could freely practice their religion, speak their mother tongue, and not be treated as second class citizens in their own country. Christ’s liberation of humanity became the model for the liberation of the nation. He had said “greater love has no one than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13), and He did just that. They were inspired by His sacrifice to do the same by laying down their lives for their fellow Greeks, and for the generations to come. Christ’s Resurrection bestowed upon them a gratitude and a desire to reciprocate the love that He had shown for us. Their example later inspired the WWII resistance to the tyrannical occupants of Greece, which became a shining beacon for other nations.
For the brave freedom fighters death was a present reality, yet they went forth in boldness and in the knowledge of Christ’s victory over death, and in anticipation of the resurrection of the dead. His resurrection permeated their being and filled them with joy as they prepared themselves to surrender to Him. They felt the joy the disciples felt when the Lord was risen.
The freedom fighters of 1821 were aware that as the Lord delivered the Israelites from exile in Babylon, they lived in the hope that Christ would bless their efforts and sacrifices to deliver them from oppression.
Today, as we see evil in the ascent through the passing of laws that are not in humanity’s interests, we anticipate that we are entering a new age that will oppress our faith. As we reflect on the Resurrected Christ who has conquered death and tyranny and division, we live in hope that He will always be triumphant and prevail, and that He “will be with us unto the end of the age.”
The Resurrected loving Christ calls upon us to share in the joy of His resurrection, to be renewed in our personal relationship with Him, to stand for love where hatred persists, to preach compassion where injustice abounds, and to insist on dialogue where division prevails. He calls on us to emulate the faith, hope, and love of the 1821 freedom fighters, to have a grateful and sacrificial disposition, and to work with zeal in piety and humility for His kingdom. Christ is Risen!
Source: Lychnos April – May 2021