The Fathers: The Only-Begotten Son of God Rests

Holy Saturday and Feast of Antipus, Bishop of Pergamum

Theophanes_Burial_Christ_Square.jpgTODAY THE GRAVE holds Him Who holds creation in His palm. A stone covers Him, Who covers the heavens with virtue. Life sleeps, and Hades trembles; and Adam is set free from his bonds. Glory to Your dispensation, through which, when all things are accomplished, You present to us an eternal Sabbath rest, granting us Your most-holy resurrection from the dead.

What is the sight, which is now beheld? What is the present rest? The King of the Ages completing the dispensation with His Passion takes His Sabbath rest in the tomb, granting us a new Sabbath. To Him let us cry out: “Arise, O God, and judge the earth, for You reign to the ages, O You Who are boundless in Your great mercy.”

Come, let us behold our Life, lying in the tomb, that He may give life to those, who lie in the graves. Come today, let us see Him of the lineage of Judah sleeping, prophetically crying out to Him: “Who shall raise You up, O King, Who falling back sleeps like a lion?” But of Your own will, rise up, O You Who willingly gave Yourself up for us; O Lord, glory to You.

Joseph asks for the Body of Jesus, and places it in his own new tomb; for He had to emerge from the grave as from a bridal  chamber. Glory to You, Who shatters the dominion of death, and opens the gates of paradise to all.

The great Moses mystically foreshadows this day, saying: “And God blessed the seventh day.” For this is the blessed Sabbath; it is the day of rest, in which the only-begotten Son of God rests from all His works, and through the dispensation of death, in body He rests. And returning to it again through the resurrection, as the only good and merciful Lord, He grants us eternal life.

You are most blessed, O Virgin Theotokos; for truly through Him Who is incarnate from you, Hades is taken captive, Adam is recalled from the dead, the curse is destroyed, Eve is set free, death is put to death, and we are given life. Therefore we cry aloud in praise, “Blessed, O Christ our God, Who are so pleased, glory to You.”  

—The Lamentation at the Tomb, Idiomela and Theotokion

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