The following is an excerpt from John Chrysostom’s (whose name literally means “golden-mouthed”) Easter homily (ca. 400) that has been permanently embedded into the Pascha liturgy of the Eastern churches.
“Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free.
He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hell when he descended into it.
He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he said,
“You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below.”
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it was mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hell, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!”1
- John Chrysostom (ca. 400 AD), quoted in Brad Jersak, “Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ,” in Brad Jersak and Michael Hardin, Stricken by God?: Nonviolent Identification and the Victory of Christ (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007), 52–53. ↩