He Is Risen Indeed

The story is told of a rally held by the communist party during the height  of the Soviet republic in a large Russian city.

The crowd of thousands listened in silence as the Comminist party official spoke for more than an hour on the death of religion- opium of the masses,  the rise of atheism, the wisdom of science and Marxism.  When he had finished he asked for questions, an orthodox priest approached and was granted five minutes. He asked for only two. He stepped up and with a loud voice called out , “He is Risen”. The crowd rose and replied “He is risen indeed.”

I first heard that story on a cold Scottish hillside during an Easter sunrise service twenty years ago. There are various versions around on the Internet. Perhaps it took place in Moscow or Kiev. The priest might have been young or very old. One version has it set in the 1930s, another says it happened in the 1970s. I will never know the details, but the truth behind the cry of the priest reverberates within me. This year on Easter Sunday at some point someone will call out -“He is risen” and I will stand with my Christian brothers and sisters and reply- ” He is risen indeed!”

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