The following sermon of John Chrysostom (c. 349–407 A.D.) is read aloud in every Orthodox parish on the morning of Resurrection Sunday. According to Orthodox tradition, no one sits during the reading of Chrysostom’s sermon, but all stand and listen with attentiveness. John was known for his oratory and eloquence. After his death he was given the name Chrysostom which means “golden mouth”.
If any man is devout and loves God,
Let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast!
If any man be a wise servant,
Let him enter into the joy of his Lord, rejoicing.
If any have worked long in fasting,
Let him how receive his compensation.
If any have worked from the first hour,
Let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour,
Let him with thankfulness observe the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour,
Let him have no fear;
Because he shall in no way be deprived.
If any have postponed until the ninth hour,
Let him come near, fearing nothing.
And if any have waited even until the eleventh hour,
Let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness.
For the Lord, who is jealous of his honor,
Will accept the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour,
Even as to him who has worked from the first hour.
And He shows mercy upon the last,
And cares for the first;
And to the one He gives,
And upon the other He grants gifts.
And He both accepts the deeds,
And welcomes the intention,
And honors the acts and praises the offering.
For this reason, enter all of you into the joy of your Lord;
Receive your reward,
Both the first, and in the same way, the second.
You rich and poor together, hold high festival!
You disciplined and you heedless, honor the day!
Rejoice today, both you who have fasted
And you who have disregarded the fast.
The table is full-laden; feast all of you extravagantly.
The calf is fatted; let no one go away hungry.
Enjoy all of you the feast of faith:
Everyone receive the riches of loving-kindness.
Let no one grieve his poverty,
For the universal Kingdom has been revealed.
Let no one weep for his iniquities,
For pardon has been demonstrated from the grave.
Let no one fear death,
For the Savior’s death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it.
By descending into the grave, He made death captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh.
And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry:
Death was embittered
When it encountered you in the lower regions.
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is your sting?
O Grave, where is your victory?
Christ is raised, and you are overthrown!
Christ is raised, and the demons are fallen!
Christ is raised, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is raised, and life reigns!
Christ is raised, and not one dead remains in the grave.
For Christ, being risen from the dead,
has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be glory and dominion
Unto ages of ages.
(Adapted from the stanza format by M.C. Steenberg. Steenberg allows freedom to print, copy, distribute and post this text without need for written permission http://www.monachos.net/content/patristics/patristictexts/170.)