Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today March 31, 2024

Giotto’s “Do not cling to me.” The risen Christ meets Mary Magdalene in the garden (Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy). Author’s photograph.

Melito, bishop of Sardis in the second century, preached this Easter sermon, excerpted below, in AD 170. It was first discovered in a fourth-century papyrus codex and has been translated by Campbell Bonner. Photos here were taken during my academic course in Italy, January 2023.

(Being) Lord, having put on human nature, and having suffered for him who was suffering, and having been bound for him who was bound, and having been condemned for him who was condemned, and having been buried for him who was buried, he rose from the dead and exclaimed: Who is he that contendeth against me? Let him stand before me. I have freed the condemned. I have restored the dead to life. I have raised to life the buried. Who is he who speaks against me?

I, he says, ‘am the Christ.

I am he who destroyed death, and triumphed over the enemy, and trampled Hades underfoot, and bound the strong one, and rescued man to the heights of the heavens;

I, he says, am the Christ.

‘Come, then, to me all you families of mankind sullied with sin, and receive the remission of sins.

For I am your forgiveness,

I am the Pasch of salvation,

I am the lamb immolated for you,

I am your redemption, I am your life, I am your resurrection,

I am your light, I am your salvation, I am your king.

I lead you to the heights of heaven.

I will show you the Father eternal, I will raise you by my right hand’.

Christ the King reigning over the heavens and earth. Giotto, Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy. Author’s photograph.

This is he who made heaven and earth, and who fashioned man when time began, who was announced by the Law and the Prophets, who became incarnate in a virgin, who was hanged on a cross, buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and ascended to the heights of heaven, sits at the right hand of the Father and has power to judge and to save all.

By him the Father has created everything from the beginning and for ever and ever.

He is the alpha and omega, He is the beginning and the end, the inexplicable beginning and incomprehensible end.

This is the Christ.

This is the king.

This is Jesus.

This is the commander.

This is the Lord.

This is he who rose from the dead.

This is he who sits at the Father’s right hand.

This is he who carries the Father and is carried by the Father.

To him be glory and power forever and ever, Amen.

Peace to the writer, the reader, and to those who love the Lord in simplicity of heart.

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