by Abbot George Kapsanis of Gregoriou, Mount Athos
The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is glad tidings [Gospel= gōd ‘good’ + spel news], because it brings into the world not only a new teaching, but a new life to replace the old one. The old life was dominated by sin, passions, corruption and death, and ruled by the devil. Despite its ‘natural’ joys, it leaves a bitter taste, because it’s not the real life that people were made for, but a life corrupted and diseased, which is why it’s marked with the feeling of absurdity, emptiness and anxiety.
The new life is offered to people by our theanthropic Christ as a gift and a potential for everyone. The faithful are united with Jesus Christ and so they partake in His divine and immortal life, that is eternal= real life.
A prerequisite for people to be united with Christ and to be resuscitated is that they should first die, through repentance, as regards the people they formerly were. People have first to crucify and bury their former selves (i.e. egotism, passions and selfish will) on the Cross and in the Grave of Christ, so that they can arise with Him and ‘walk in the newness of life’ (Rom. 6, 4). This is the work of repentance and the acceptance of the Cross of Christ. Without repentance, that is the continuous crucifying on one’s former self, it’s impossible for the faithful to believe in a Gospel manner, that is to give up the whole of themselves to God and to love ‘the Lord God with all their heart and with all their soul, with all their mind and with all their strength’ (Mark 12, 30).