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The Profession of Faith

165

634

“The gospel was preached even to the dead.”

484

The descent

into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfill­

ment. This is the last phase of Jesus’ messianicmission, a phasewhich

is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of

Christ’s redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all

who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

635

Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the

dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will

live.”

485

Jesus, “the Author of life,” by dying destroyed “him who

has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those

who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.”

486

Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades,”

so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and

on earth and under the earth.”

487

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great

stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. The earth

trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh

and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world

began. . . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as

for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in

darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from

sorrowAdam in his bonds andEve, captivewith him—Hewho

is both their God and the son of Eve. . . .” I am your God, who

for your sake have become your son. . . . I order you, O sleeper,

to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from

the dead, for I am the life of the dead.”

488

IN BRIEF

636

By the expression “He descended into hell,” theApos­

tles’ Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and

through his death for us conquered death and the devil

“who has the power of death” (

Heb

2:14).

637

In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead

Christ went down to the realmof the dead. He opened

heaven’s gates for the just who had gone before him.

484

1 Pet

4:6.

485

Jn

5:25; cf.

Mt

12:40;

Rom

10:7;

Eph

4:9.

486

Heb

2:14-15; cf.

Acts

3:15.

487

Rev

1:18;

Phil

2:10.

488 Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C:

LH,

Holy

Saturday, OR.

605