The Harrowing of Hades

Death was struck with dismay on beholding a new visitant descend into hades, not bound by the chains of that place. Why, O porters of hades, were you scared at sight of Him? What was the unwanted fear that possessed you? Death fled, and his flight betrayed his cowardice. The holy prophets ran unto Him, and Moses the Lawgiver, and Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob; David also, and Samuel, and Esaias, and John the Baptist, who bore witness when he asked, Are You He that should come, or look we for another? All the just were ransomed, whom death had swallowed; for it behooved the King whom they had proclaimed, to become the redeemer of His noble heralds. Then each of the just said, O death, where is your victory? O grave, where is your sting? For the Conqueror has redeemed us.

– St. Cyril of Jerusalem (d. 386), Catechetical Lecture 14

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