Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday

“I SAID: In the midst of my days I shall go to the gates of hell: I sought for the residue of my years. I said: I shall not see the Lord God in the land of the living. I shall behold man no more, nor the inhabitant of rest. My generation is at an end, and it is rolled away from me, as a shepherd's tent. My life is cut off, as by a weaver: whilst I was yet but beginning, he cut me off: from morning even to night you will make an end of me. I hoped till morning, as a lion so has he broken all my bones: from morning even to night you will make an end of me. I will cry like a young swallow, I will meditate like a dove: my eyes are weakened looking upward: Lord, I suffer violence; answer for me. What shall I say, or what shall he answer for me, whereas he himself has done it? I will recount to you all my years in the bitterness of my soul.” (Canticle of Hezekias, Isa. 38:10)

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday:
Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
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Christ's harrowing of hell; the holy icon Agios Anastasios, at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church, in Town and Country, Missouri.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “and with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying : “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

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