The Shepherd, April 2009
Christ Is Risen!
Truly, He is Risen!
We greet all our readers, our helpers and supporters on the Radiantly
Triumphant Festival of our Saviour’s Resurrection from the dead,
hoping that, through His mercies, each of you will experience
something of the joy of the feast as a foretaste of the
future good things.
FROM THE FATHERS
“HE [Christ] truly assumed a body; for ‘The Word was made flesh’ (John 1:14), and lived upon earth without sin, for says He ‘Which of you convicteth me of sin?’ (John 8:46). He in reality did eat and drink. He was crucified and died under Pontius Pilate. He really, and not merely in appearance, was crucified, and He died in the sight of beings in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth. By those in heaven, I mean such as are possessed of incorporeal natures; by those on earth, the Jews and the Romans, and such persons as were present at the time when the Lord was crucified; and by those under the earth, the multitude that arose along with the Lord, for says Scripture, ‘Many bodies of the saints that slept arose’ (Matt. 27:52), their graves being opened. He descended, indeed, into Hades alone, but He arose accompanied by a multitude; and rent asunder that means of separation which had existed from the beginning of the world, and cast down its partition-wall. He also rose again in three days, the Father raising Him up; and after spending forty days with the Apostles, He was received up to the Father, and ‘sat down at His right hand, expecting till His enemies are placed under His feet’ (Heb. 10:12,13). On the day of preparation [Friday], then at the third hour [approx, 9 a.m.], He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour [noon] He was crucified; at the ninth hour [3 p.m.] He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried. During the Sabbath [Saturday] He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathea had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord’s day, He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself - ‘As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’ (Matt. 12:40). The day of preparation, then, comprises the Passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord’s Day contains the Resurrection.”
Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer of Antioch, + 107 A.D.
“BUT PERHAPS someone will say: Of course He rose, for being God He could not be held in death. So, to give light to our understanding, to strengthen our weakness, He willed to give us a proof, and not of His Resurrection only. In that hour He died alone; but He did not rise alone from the dead, for it is written: And many bodies of the saints that had slept arose (Matt. 27:52). He has thus taken away the argument of those who do not believe. And let no one say: No man can hope that will happen to him which the Godman proved in His Body; for here we learn that men did rise again with God.”
Saint Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome, + 604 A.D.