Christ is Risen from the dead and by His death He has trampled upon death and to those in the tombs bestows life!
All Orthodox Christians know and chant with enthusiasm the triumphant hymn of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The icon of Christ’s descent into Hades is the visual expression of this most beautiful hymn. Christ is seen as the Life-giver as He tramples on the gates of Hades, taking Adam and Eve by the hands, raising them to life.
Through our Lord’s entrance into Hades, death and sin have been vanquished. The radiant halo that surrounds Him depicts the radiant energy of His glorious Resurrection. He fills the darkness of Hades with the brilliance of His light. Standing upon the broken gates of the kingdom of Death, He demonstrates His victory over sin and Death by His own Crucifixion and Resurrection.
This event reveals the promise to each of us, that we too will be raised to enjoy the Divine Life in the Heavenly Kingdom. In liberating our first parents, Christ also frees those who put their faith in His coming. This truth is seen in the presence of Kings, David and Solomon, vested in royal robes and crowns. They stand together with John the Baptist at Christ’s right. Moses and the Prophets of the Old Testament stand at His left and with them, all of humanity is raised.
On the night of Pascha, the church is calm and dark. The priest comes out from the Holy Altar inviting the faithful to "…receive the light from the unwaning Light; and glorify Christ, Who is risen from the dead." We "enter into the joy of the Lord" and announce to the world: "It is the Day of Resurrection: Let us be glorious in splendor for the Festival, and let us embrace one another. Let us speak also, O brethren, to those that hate us, and in the Resurrection, let us forgive all things, and so let us cry: Christ is Risen from the dead and by His death He has trampled upon death and to those in the tombs He bestows life!"
See: Matthew 28:1-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-10;
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