Death is Distraught at His Entering In

As we have celebrated the Joyous and Bright Saturday, we contemplate the liturgical poetry of St. Ephrem the Syrian. Death is conquered by the one Who enters therein!

Death says,
“The death of Jesus is to me a torment.
I prefer for myself His life rather than His death.
This is the Dead One whose death is hateful to me.
In the death of all men else I rejoice, but His death, even His, I detest.
That He may come back to life I hope. While He was living, three that were dead
He brought to life and restored, but now by His death
at the gate of Sheol (Hades) they have trampled on me-the dead who have come to life,
whom I was going to shut in.

‘I will haste and will close the gates of SHeol
before this Dead One Whose death has despoiled me.
Whoever hears will wonder at my humiliation
that by a dead man who is without I am overcome.
All the dead seek to go forth,
but this one presses to enter in. A medicine of life has entered into sheol
and has restored life to its dead. Who then has brought in and hidden from me
that living fire whereby was loosed
the cold and dark womb of sheol?’

[now St. Ephrem]
Our Living King has gone forth and gone up
out of Sheol as conqueror.
Woe He has doubled to them that are of the left hand.
To evil spirits and demons He is sorrow, to Satan and Death He is pain,
to Sin and Sheol mourning. Joy to them that are of the right hand
has come today. On this great day, therefore,
great glory let us give to Him
who died and is alive that unto all He may give Life and Resurrection!

St. Ephrem the Syrian, Nisibene Hymns, 36.

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