This is how we pray in my church when we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. This is how we praise Jesus who accepted pain for our salvation. With His resurrection, Jesus became victorious over death. This is the feast known in the Orthodox liturgy as the feast of feasts and the season of all seasons.
We bow our heads in front of the crucified Jesus as we celebrate his resurrection from the dead. We stand in front of the holy tomb and pray for the entire world. We pray also for the Holy Land, the land of peace, love, history, heritage, and sites where Christianity unfolded. We pray that peace and justice prevail, and that Palestinians will be free from occupation and can pursue the life of dignity they so much deserve.
We pray for Jerusalem, the city sacred to the three monotheistic religions. Jerusalem is supposed to be the city of peace, but, alas; today it is the city of conflict, violence, and hatred.
I ask the world’s political powers to restore Jerusalem’s peace, to work for the preservation of the city’s identity and role in our lives. It is inconceivable that Palestinians and their holy sites are treated with utmost cruelty and injustice. Such actions are unacceptable.
We pray that all wars will end, and that peace prevails the world over. We pray that love, compassion, and the brotherhood of all humans prevail; and that the hatred, racism, and violence that we so much condemn and reject will end.
During the Easter season let us remember also the victims of recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. These are people who lost loved ones, their homes, and everything that they owned. We pray that God Almighty heals their wounds during this difficult time.
On the feats of resurrection, and from Jerusalem the city of resurrection, we send our best wishes, peace, and love to all celebrants.
Jesus is Risen! He is Truly Risen!
Atallah Hanna, Orthodox Archbishop of Sebastia