Today a grave holds Him…

sealedtomb

Today a grave holds him
who holds creation in the palm of his hand.
A stone covers him
who covers with glory the heavens.
Life is asleep and hell trembles,
and Adam is freed from his chains.
Glory to your saving work,
by which you have done all things!
You have given us eternal rest,
Your holy resurrection from the dead.

— a matins hymn for Holy Saturday, from Orthodox Lent, Holy Week and Easter

***

Also, in searching for an image for this post, I came across the full homely divinity site’s page on Holy Saturday, including an ancient 8th c. Holy Saturday hymn by Saint John of Damascus:

Into the dim earth’s lowest parts descending,
And bursting by Thy might the infernal chain
That bound the prisoners, Thou, at three days’ ending,
As Jonah from the whale, hast risen again.

Thou brakest not the seal, Thy surety’s token,
Arising from the tomb Who left’st in birth
The portals of virginity unbroken,
Opening the gates of Heaven to sons of earth.

Thou, Sacrifice ineffable and living,
Didst to the Father by Thyself atone
As God eternal: resurrection giving
To Adam, general parent, by Thine own.

– John of Damascus, 8th Century, translated from Greek by John M. Neale in Hymns of the Eastern Church

art credit

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