SERMON: St Raphael on Red Eggs

SERMON: St Raphael on Red Eggs April 18, 2007

Christ is Risen, Brethren, and I wish you abundant blessings.

I offer thanks and glory to God the Father who desired that we celebrate this year also the Resurrection of His Son the Saviour of mankind and, as it is customary in our Holy Church since the beginning, I will greet and offer each one of you a Red Egg on this glorious feast.

If you ask me when this custom in the Christian Church began, I would say that it is a very old custom and that it dates back to the time of the disciples. There is an old tradition that Mary Magdalene — who is considered to be the first who deserved to receive the joyful news from the angel about the resurrection of the Saviour from His tomb, and the first who saw the Saviour after His Resurrection — presented a Red Egg to the emperor Tiberius while she was preaching about Christ in the city of Rome. The Red Egg was a symbol of the faith of the Christians in the resurrection of the dead and the life to come in the kingdom of heaven.

It is clear that the egg symbolized the resurrection of the dead, the resurrection of the bodies of the departed, thus the truth of life after death. For just as the dead substance inside the egg shell moves and becomes a living substance by the warmth of the chicken who sits on it, and after a period of time breaks the egg shell and comes forth as a living young chick, so also our dead bodies, even after being kept in a grave or a casket, will be revived by the power and the warmth of the Holy Spirit. We will break the gates of Hades and rise as living bodies on the day of the great judgment, after the image of the resurrected body of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.

Therefore the egg is a splendid symbol of the truth of life after death and the resurrection of the body. As for dying it red, this is because the red colour indicates joy and happiness and it represents the blood of Christ that was shed on the precious cross of the life of the world and its salvation from sin, death, and damnation.

He who offers the Red Egg proclaims Christ is Risen! and he who receives is replies Indeed, He is Risen! This affirms our Orthodox belief in the resurrection of all the faithful in the resurrected Jesus Christ. Through His Glorious Resurrection, He opened to us the way from death to life.

— Archimandrite Raphael Hawaweeny, Pascha 1900.

Stolen from the parish newsletter (The Light) of St Anthony the Great Church, Spring, Texas. Translated by Fr André Issa, edited by Diana Angelo & Missy Galagaza; tweaked (here) by Fr Joseph Huneycutt.

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