“An awesome and marvelous mystery today is coming to pass. The Incorporeal One is being held; the One, freeing Adam from the curse is bound; He Who tries the inner hearts and thoughts of man , is unjustly tried; He Who sealed the abyss is shut up in prison. He stands before Pilate, before Whom the Powers of Heaven stand with trembling. The Fashioner is smitten by the hand of the fashioned; the Judge of the living and the dead is condemned to the Cross; the Despoiler of Hades is shut up in a Tomb; O forebearing Lord, compassionately enduring all things and saving all from the curse, glory to Your.”
When You the Redeemer of all, were placed in a new tomb for us all, Hades, the respecter of none, crouhed when he saw You. The bars were broken, the gates were shattered, the graves were opened, and the dead arose. Then Adam, gratefully rejoicing, cried out to You: ‘Glory to Your Condescension, O Merciful God.’
When You, O Christ, of Your own will, submitted bodily to be closed in the tomb, being by nature of the Godhead, remaining indescribable and limitless, You closed down the chambers of death, and emptied the palaces of Hades. Then You rendered this Sabbath worthy of blessing and glory, and of Your own splendor.
When You, the Immortal Life, descended to Death, You struck Hades dead with the lightning of the Godhead; and when You raised up the dead from the abyss, all the powers of Heaven cried aloud; ‘O Life Giver Christ, our God, glory to You!’
The super-terrestial and those of the nether world, beholding you, my Savior, on Your throne on High, and in the grave below, were shaken with Your death; for You were seen in a manner, transcending the mind, as dead; You, the Source of Life.
You descended to the depths of the earth to fill all things with Your glory; for my person that is in Adam was not hidden for You; and being buried, You renewed me, from corruption, O Lover of mankind.
You have sanctified the seventh day, which You blessed before You rested from Your labors; for You create everything, and You renew them, observing the sabbath, and restoring Yourself
When Your soul was separated from the body, the bonds of both Hades and Death were shattered with greater strength by Your might, O Word of God.
When You the Creator became earthly, You renewed those of the earth. The linen and the tomb demonstrate the inherent mystery, O Word; for the honorable Councilor, fulfils Your Father’s will, through Whom You renew me majestically.
You transform the mortal by death, and the corrupt by burial; for as befits God, You have made the incorruptible and immortal the nature you assumed, for Your body O Master, did not see corruption, nor was Your soul abandoned as a stranger in Hades
You came from a Virgin who knew no travail; Your side, or my Creator, was pierced by which You accomplised the re-creation of Eve, having Yourself become Adam. Supernaturally, You fell into a sleep that renewed nature, awakening life form sleep and corruption, as the Almighty.
You were slain, O Word, but were not separated from the body, whih You shared with us, for even though Your temple was destroyed during Your Passion, the Person of Your Divinity and humanity was still one; for in both You are One Son, the Word of God, God and Man.
The fall of man resulted in the death to Man, but not to God, for through the substance of your earthly body suffered, Your divinity remained passionless, transforming the corruptible into incorruption, and showed it to be the fountain of Resurrection for immortal Life.
Verily Hades rules the race of mortals, but not forever, for You, O mighty One, when placed in the tomb, demolished the bars of death with Your Life giving Hand, and preached to those, who slept there from the ages of old the true redemption becoming O Savior the First Born of the dead.
On the Holy and Great Saturday, we celebrate the Burial of the Divine Body, and of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and His descent into Hades through which our race was recalled from corruption, and was translpanted to eternal life.
The Godhead of Christ was one with the Father and the Spirit, without separation in the tomb and in Eden, for the salvation of us who sing ‘Blessed are You, O God, our deliverer.’
Selections from Great Friday Vespers.