Mor_Ephrem_icon

The only-begotten…took up His abode in the Virgin; that by a common manner of birth, though only-begotten, He might become the brother of many.

And He departed from Sheol and took up His abode in the Kingdom; that He might seek out a path from Sheol which oppresses all, to the Kingdom which requites all.

For our Lord gave His resurrection as a pledge to mortals, that He would remove them from Sheol, which receives the departed without distinction, to the Kingdom which admits the invited with distinction.

[…] The Father begat Him, and through Him created the creatures.

Flesh bare Him and through Him slew lusts.

Baptism brought him forth, that through Him it might wash away stains.

Sheol brought Him forth, that through Him its treasures might be emptied out.

He came to us from beside His Father by the way of them that are born.

And by the way of them that die, He went forth to go to His Father; so that by His coming through birth, His advent might be seen; and by His returning through resurrection, His departure might be confirmed.

But our Lord was trampled on by Death; and in His turn trod out a way over Death.

This is He Who made Himself subject to and endured death of His own will, that He might cast down death against his will.

For our Lord bare His Cross and went forth according to the will of Death:  but He cried upon the Cross and brought forth the dead from within Sheol against the will of Death.

For in that very thing by which Death had slain Him [i.e., the body], in that as armour He bore off the victory over Death.

But the Godhead concealed itself in the manhood and fought against Death, Death slew and was slain.  Death slew the natural life; and the supernatural life slew Him.

[…] This is the Son of the carpenter, Who skilfully made His Cross a bridge over Sheol that swallows up all, and brought over mankind into the dwelling of life.

And because it was through the tree that mankind had fallen into Sheol, so upon the tree they passed over into the dwelling of life.

Through the tree then wherein bitterness was tasted, through it also sweetness was tasted; that we might learn of Him that amongst the creatures nothing resists Him.

Glory be to Thee, Who didst lay Thy Cross as a bridge over death, that souls might pass over upon it from the dwelling of the dead to the dwelling of life!

Ephrem the Syrian (c.306-373): Homily on Our Lord, 1-4.

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