Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Liturgy of the Holy Saturday

5 April 1980
Theme: Great Lent, Death   Place: London Parish   Period: 1976-1980   Genre: Sermon

How blessed we are: in the hours that separate us now from the procla­mation of the Resurrection of Christ we are awaiting it, we knew it has happened, we know that the Descent into Hell is the harrowing of Hell, and not the final defeat of the Man Jesus crucified on Calvary; the Apostles did not know that. In these hours which we will spend anticipa­ting the joy of the coming night, they were in darkness, in agony and in fear. And they brought to us the good news that their fear was in vain, that the victory has won when they thought that defeat had come. Let us spend these hours with a warm, grateful feeling, awaiting the news to reach us, but rejoicing for the millions of people who were in the twilight of death, in the darkness of separation from God until of a sudden God Himself came to the place of ultimate dereliction. Let us think of them; and thank God for them, and let us thank God for all those who have departed this life and who are not dead but have fallen into sleep: our parents who have gone, our ancestors who have gone, our friends, the members of this parish, people known and unknown, to us: death is no more. Because the sting of death was a final separation from God and separatedness from one’s neighbour: and that doesn’t exist any more; there is only a temporary separation of soul and body, a time when the body will rest and fall into dust, while the soul will come to life, more and more, like a fire that burns ever brighter, until the day when wholeness will be rein­stated, when we will rise and live God’s life forever.

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