Friday, April 21, 2017

'In the death of the Lord, the power of the Resurrection becomes apparent'

Dear Parish Faithful,

Christ is Risen!
Indeed He is Risen!

Fr. George Florovsky (+1979) was arguably the greatest Orthodox theologian of the 20th c. He is known for rediscovering the great Church Fathers and restoring this "patristic dimension" to Orthodox theology. Here is a wonderful passage that captures his compressed style that still contains a wealth of insights into the deepest meaning of the divine economy inspired by his reading of the Church Fathers:

The Whole Christ, Head and Body.  The death of the Savior revealed that death held no power over him. The Lord was mortal in respect of His complete human nature; for even in the original nature there was a capacity of death. 

The Lord died, but death could not keep Him. He was the eternal life, and through His death He destroyed death. His descent into Hades, the kingdom  of death, is the powerful revelation of life. By descending into hades, He gives life to death itself. And by the resurrection, the powerlessness of death is revealed. 

In the death of the Lord, the power of the resurrection becomes apparent, which is concealed but intrinsic to every death. The parable of the wheat can be fully applied to His death. In the case of the body of the incarnated, the period between death and resurrection has been shortened. The seed grows to perfection in three days: triduum mortis

During this mystical triduum mortis the body of the Lord was transfigured, glorified, and clothed in power and light. The resurrection happened by the power of God, and by the same power the general resurrection will happen on the last day. In the resurrection the incarnation is perfected, a victorious revelation of life in the human nature. Immortality was grafted on to humanity.

The resurrection of Christ was not only His victory over His own death but over death in general. In His resurrection the whole human nature is resurrected, but not so that all rise from the graves, for mankind still must die. But death has become powerless, and the whole human nature has received the ability to be resurrected.

From In Ligno Crucis (On the Tree of the Cross) - The Church Fathers' doctrine of redemption interpreted from the perspective of Eastern Orthodox theology (1947)

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