Jesus and the dead
|Descent to Hades (from here)
When Jesus died on the cross, His human soul transferred to the place of the dead (”Hades” in Greek), where it talked to the dead, as it had done to the living (one might want to see the relevant orthodox icon “Descent to Hades”, as well as the testimony of great and saint apostle Peter, Jesus’ disciple, in his first epistle (letter), found in the Holy Bible, chapter 3, verse 19-20). He then took the souls of the dead from Hades and brought them to the place where souls go now, a place called “heaven”. There, the souls of those dead before Christ together with the souls of the people who lived after Christ, wait the resurrection, so that they will live in God’s kingdom assuming their bodies again, but this time as immortal and luminous bodies.
The people who lived in this world having advanced towards God with pure heart, foretaste in heaven – the place of the souls – the indescribable happiness generated by the relationship with Christ, by the sight of His heavenly beauty and His uncreated Light. This happiness is proportional to their kindness and will reach its full extent after the resurrection of all people. We call this happiness “paradise”.
On the contrary, those who lived in this world confining their love to their egoistic self, foretaste in heaven the grief generated by the relationship with Christ (whom they do not love), by the sight of His heavenly beauty and His uncreated Light. This grief is proportional to the distortion caused by their egoism and will reach its full extent after the resurrection of all people. We call it “hell”.
A reference to the resurrection and to the final state, in which all people (of all races and ages, as well as of all religions) will live, is found in the words of Christ himself, in the Gospel of Mathew, chapter 25, 31-46. This description must be considered in the context of God’s love for all people and for all creatures. God does not “send to hell” the impenitent sinners, but the state of their own soul is itself the hell. The state that does not allow them to taste the indescribable happiness of paradise.
|Icon, Pskov museum, 14th cent.
Dimitris Siregelas (εκεί και ελληνικά)
None of the Evangelists does not describe exactly how the Resurrection of the Christ happened exactly.The only report is about the earthquake, the descent of the Angel the terror of the soldiers but not about the Resurrection.
The symbolism of the mystery of the Resurrection is formed in the tradition of the second century.
The Orthodox icon of Ressurection does not show a fact which been viewed by a man but symbolically shows the descent of Christ to Hades.Ston area ie where are the dead.
The Risen Christ has on His hands and feet signs of nails and keeping in his hands a scroll with the word ,or in other icons keeping the cross of His martyrdom, which is also the instrument of His victory, stepping over the broken doors of Hades.Around of the doors we see what has left from the locks and accessories of the gates after the dynamic entry of Christ into Hades. Full of light, Christ grabs Adam (the person whose shall contribute all men) from the hand for Resurect him.This grab from the hand shows that Adam can:t Ressurect by himself thats why he accepts the Christ:s hanging.
Resurection in Greek called Anastasi which means Lifting.In this lifting participates also Eve standing next to Adam and with whom they symbolize the human race who resurrects by Christ as God-man, with his own resurrection.
In this Resurrection paricipates and other people already deceased as David (old king) and his son Solomon, Moses keeping the law, Abel usually shown holding a crook and who was also a victim of unfair death.Also from the compotition doesn:t miss and St.John the Forerunner who prepared the coming of Christ on the world he also prepared the Christ"s descent in Hades.Except of these persons mentioned there are also many more dead people who lived before the coming of Christ.
Usually at the bottom of the picture depicted a dark form chain locked which symbolizes the death, who had power over people so many centuries and now Christ with his death deprived him of this power.Sometimes he depicted to be stepped by Christ.
In the background of the icon is depicted aplace of another world without any nature which is nothing else than the dry and dark place of Hades.
I really wish our Lord Jesus Christ to Resurrect all of these who desires this resurrection and to offer them a meaning in their lifes and also the Eternal life with Him.
|Mosaic, Hosios Loukas, 10th cent.
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|Fresco, Kurbinovo (FYROM), 11th cent.
|Fresco, Manuel Panselhnos, Protaton Athos, 13th cent
|Fresco, Decani monastery, 14th cent.