The Harrowing of Hell – 01 May 2021 – Byzantine Rite

Concerning Hades.

The Apostles Creed, an innovation of the Western Church dating from the ninth century and remaining in popular usage even presently, includes a clause regarding Christ’s passion, that He “descended into Hell”. Consequently a great deal of medieval lore surrounds the subject of the “Harrowing of Hell” in art, literature, and even some theology. There is merit to be considered there, for Our Lord is Lord of the Living and the Dead, and being God before, throughout and after time itself, is the Resurrection and the Life not only of those who believe in the Name of Jesus having come into a world with the Gospel, but also of those who came before. However, to put a fine point on the matter of Jesus’ death at Golgotha, He spoke to a condemned man who hung crucified beside Him and said, “I say to you truly, today you will be with Me in paradise.” Today.

Furthermore there is no such clause in the Niceo-Constantinopolitan Creed, which dates to the fifth century and was adopted by the First Council of Nicea.

As the Resurrection is promised to us on the Last Day, it may well be for us that when we come to repose in the Lord we wait among the dead for the completion of the cycle and only then, when the whole of the posterity of Adam are ready to face Judgment and Mercy, do we fully come into the new life we receive in Jesus’ Name, but Our Lord quite clearly said when it was completed. “It is completed”, He said, finally, as He died on the Cross. That was all the harrowing that Hell required. Our sins and our sinful selves we give to the Jordan to be drowned and washed away. We are raised up in Christ to live in His Love and His Glory forever, Hallelujah.

~Mor Clement

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