The Harrowing of Hades

PASCHA-The Harrowing of Hell

Wednesday May 5, 2021 / April 22, 2021

Bright Wednesday.
Bright Week. Fast-free

Synaxis of the Venerable Fathers of the Holy Mount Sinai (movable holiday on the Wednesday of the Bright Week). “Kasperov” Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos (movable holiday on the Wednesday of the Bright Week). Venerable Theodore the Sykeote, bishop of Anastasiopolis (613). New Hieromartyr Eustaphius priest (1918). Hieromartyr Platon of Banja Luka (1941). Martyr Demetrius (1942). Apostles Nathaniel, Luke, and Clement. Translation of the relics of St. Vsevolod (in holy baptism Gabriel), prince and wonderworker of Pskov (1138). Venerable Vitalis of the monastery of Abba Serid (Seridos) at Gaza (609-620). Martyr Epipodius of Lyons (177) (Gaul).

The Scripture Readings

Acts 2:22-36
John 1:35-51

Resurrection of Christ

The Gospels narrate that after Christ’s Passion and suffering on the Cross, he was laid in a tomb which was donated by Joseph of Arimathea. After three days in the tomb, Christ had descended into Hades and broke the bonds of Death through his resurrection. The belief of Christ’s Holy Resurrection is reiterated in the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.

This Resurrection, commemorated every year on Great and Holy Pascha and every week on the Lord’s Day, is the most fundamental belief of the Church. It confirms the authenticity of Christ’s teachings, His Godhood and Manhood, and proves the veracity of His work in redeeming mankind from the Fall. Conquering sin and its result, death, Christ is often referred to as the “New Adam,” bestowing new life to humanity. As the Apostle Paul states, “For as by a man came death, by a man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”[1]

The Resurrection of Christ is foretold in several Books of the Old Testament, as in The Book of Hosea, where the prophet says, “After two days He shall revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight.”[2]

Death Before the Ressurection of Christ

Before the ressurection, all the dead would go to Sheol (Hades) wether they were righteous or not. It was a place of darkeness and death.. After Christ was laid into the tomb, he descended into Hades and broke the bonds of death and let out all of the people therein, such as King David and SolomonJohn the BaptistAdam and Eve among others.

https://orthodoxwiki.org/Resurrection

HYMNS OF PRAISE

THE HOLY APOSTLES

The holy apostles of God

Ran the race and reached the goal.

They despised the vanity of the world; they strove toward God.

They sacrificed the worldly and acquired the eternal.

Love for Christ, stronger than all other powers,

Shone from them through the darkness of paganism.

The race is over, the battle won,

The army of heroes is brought to Christ.

Many are the wreaths of victory in Christ:

If you desire, you too can be crowned.

Holy apostles, pray to God,

That He deprive us not of the Kingdom of Heaven.


REFLECTION

There is heroism above heroism and asceticism above asceticism. St. Epiphanius of Cyprus invited Hilarion the Great to dinner and, in order to show the greatest hospitality to his distinguished guest, set roasted chicken on the table and offered it to him. Hilarion said to him: “Forgive me, but ever since I was tonsured a monk, I have eaten nothing butchered.” To this Epiphanius replied: “And I, ever since I was tonsured a monk, have never lay down in bed until I first forgave my enemy.” Amazed, Hilarion said: “Your virtue is greater than mine, O holy master!” This is a great lesson for all of us. Fasting is an admirable thing, but it is more admirable to forgive insults. Through fasting a man is preparing for charity, but by forgiving insults a man shows charity. Fasting precedes forgiveness, but fasting alone does not save without forgiveness.

CONTEMPLATION

Contemplate the resurrected Lord Jesus:

1. In an earthly body before the Resurrection, in a body susceptible to hunger, pain and death;

2. In a heavenly body after the Resurrection, in a body not susceptible to hunger, pain and death.

HOMILY

on the resurrection of the dead

“But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?'” (1 Corinthians 15:35).

The Apostle Paul knows in advance the objections that the unbelievers will make concerning the resurrection from the dead, and he rejects them in advance. Even today, the non-believers–who have not seen with physical eyes the miracle of the resurrection in nature, much less the spiritual resurrection–ask: “How will the dead be raised?” Thou fool! continues the apostle, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die (1 Corinthians 15:36). Unless the seed dies in the ground, the plant will not grow; in other words, something totally different from the seed will sprout up. The unbelievers see through their eyes yet do not see, but ask: “How will a dead man resurrect?” How? In the same way that Christ resurrected. He went down lifeless into the tomb, and rose alive. Even nature manifests resurrection from the dead; but more strongly than nature, it is manifested by the resurrected Lord. In order to make it easier for us to believe and to hope–to believe in the resurrection in general and to have hope in our own resurrection–He Himself resurrected from the grave and, prior to that, resurrected Lazarus the four-days-dead, the son of the widow of Nain, and the daughter of Jarius.

The unbelievers ask: “With what kind of body will the dead rise?” In whatever kind of body God wills. With God there are many kinds of bodies. The Apostle Paul divides all bodies into two groups: earthly bodies and heavenly bodies. Therefore, they who have died in earthly bodies will be clothed with heavenly bodies: the incorruptible will replace the corruptible; the immortal will replace the mortal; the beautiful will replace the ugly. In the heavenly body, man will also recognize himself and others around him, just as man recognizes himself both when he is clothed in beggar’s rags and when he is clothed in royal purple.

Lord, Most-rich, do not give us over to eternal corruption but clothe us as royal sons in the garment of immortality.

To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.