Descent into Hades


Fr Schmemman:

The traditional icon used by the Church on the feast of Easter is an icon of Holy Saturday: the descent of Christ into Hades. It is a painting of theology, for no one has ever seen this event. It depicts Christ, radiant in hues of white and blue, standing on the shattered gates of Hades. With arms outstretched He is joining hands with Adam and all the other Old Testament righteous whom He has found there. He leads them from the kingdom of death. By His death He tramples death.

Today Hades cries out groaning:

“I should not have accepted the Man born of Mary.

“He came and destroyed my power.

“He shattered the gates of brass.

“As God, He raised the souls I had held captive.”

Glory to Thy cross and resurrection, O Lord!

Arise, O God, and judge the earth!


One Response to Descent into Hades

  1. Lauren says:

    I discovered Schmemman recently (yesterday) and am newly in love.

    We Romans shall be forever grateful to you Orthodox and Easterners for the Ancient Homily on Holy Saturday, and for your icons of the Anastasis. Christos voskres!

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