A Homily for the Great Sunday of the Resurrection
Blessed be the Good One Who on the day of his resurrection acquitted our nature and prevailed over the tyrant.
Jesus' Spiritual Armor
The King on high (of heaven) put on earthly attire,
in order to go forth and bring back the captivity of men from the strong one (Satan).
His good pleasure' went forth in human attire in order to give life to men;
and the evil one saw him but did not discern the power of his hidden Nature.
The likeness of a servant the Creator took on in order to free all,
and He concealed His glory within a garment of mortality.
He chose the leader of the host from the same race that was captive to the evil one;
and He armed him with the Spirit to go forth and redeem the members of his people.
He gave him divine armor with which he might fight,
so that, when triumphant, he would possess by its power the name of victory.
The King's armor the corporeal leader of the host put on;
and he placed the helmet of redemptive life upon his head.
Spiritually he put on armor befitting his hidden Nature
and girded himself with limbs befitting the conflict.
In his soul's faculties the corporeal one armed himself,
because he saw in the Spirit that his adversary was spiritual.
Armed with the Spirit, he battled against the spiritual ruler of the air (Eph 6:12)
lest he be entangled by his earthly limbs.
In body and soul, he bore the armor that the King gave him;
and he put it on, in love, over the senses of the body and the faculties of the soul.
A hidden battle the mortal one waged with hidden power;
and he triumphed and granted victory to the body and the soul and freed them.
The Conquest over Satan in the Desert
His race was captive to the evil one and death,
the tyrants who had rebelled;
and he gave himself to the struggle on behalf of his people.
He went forth into the desert to battle against the evil one and he conquered him
and then prepared himself for the struggle with insatiable death.
He engaged in a contest with the strong one over desire for bread
and grappled with him and threw him down by his constancy in the face of enticements.
The spiritual one was overcome by the corporeal one by the power of the Spirit;
and the body which passions had trampled down prevailed over the ruler of the air.
A lowly body mocked and ridiculed the strong one
and took away his armor lest he battle with it against mortals.
"Begone, 0 evil one, to your partner!" he said to him.
"Begone! Prepare for yourself other armor for death.
Begone! Devise for yourself deadly snares with the aid of mortal ones,
because you are alone and your power is too weak for the struggle!
Begone! Gather to yourself the sons whom you have begotten through your strategems,
and arm them with slander as you are accustomed!
Summon to yourself companions of falsehood to aid you,
because you are a deceiver, and with deceivers you are accustomed to conquer!
Satan's Legal Charge
For a short time, he drove away the treacherous
one with whom he battled,
so that Satan might go and devise schemes under the guise of his lawsuit.
He continually knew that in a legal way he will enter a suit
and by recalling former things seek to conquer.
The transgression of God's command in Paradise he kept recalling,
and upon this offense as evidence he was relying.
With Adam's desire for fruit as his surety, he continually brought forth the charge
that this had become his surety because of the slavery over men that he had acquired by
The signature of Even and Adam he kept showing him, saying:
"Behold! Your parents have sealed and delivered this over. Read and understand it.
A bond Adam wrote me in Eden, because he succumbed to sin;
and because he did not repay it, he pledged his sons as interest.
From the beginning, I have possessed authority over mortals;
and it was not in secret that they enrolled themselves and became enslaved as debtors.
It is not because of constraint that your race is like you, but because of love.
And this is why they willingly accepted to become slaves!
It was not Adam and the members of his generation who alone became corrupted,
because man's entire nature is included under the constraint of mortality.
And if you are corporeal and you share in the passions of the body,
consider your nature and know that you are included under the bond of my lordship.
There is not a corporeal being, possessing limbs, who is not mortal;
and if he is mortal, he is under my bondage and that of death.
Or show me that you are not mortal, and I shall turn away from you;
but if you are mortal, your nature refutes the contention of your words!
Show the edict that Death has given you, stating that you are not mortal,
even though this I do not accept for corporeal beings!
You are corporeal! Why are words required in this suit?
The nature of your body is utter corruption and mortality!
These things the slanderer was thinking applied to him,
when he made use of these arguments against the body.
Like a buckler he was holding up mortality,
believing that he will conquer him with it as he does other mortals.
The hateful one secretly expressed these things
in his thoughts;
but he who searches the heart was regarding them as though they were expressed openly.
And because he saw with the inner sight of his mind what the evil-one was pondering,
he revealed the hatred in his evil disposition before onlookers.
In a clear voice, he spoke about his secret thoughts:
"Behold! The slanderer comes to plead his case.
Behold! The prince and ruler of the world is demanding of me:
'Fulfill the obligations of mortality as do other mortals'!
Under the guise of a lawsuit, he makes a charge against me as he does with other men:
'You are a man! Pay as a man liable to judgment'!
With these arguments he also disputes with me as with Adam:
'You are an adamite, dust that the river of my strategems has overwhelmed'!
Why are you proud over the words that have come to pass in your regard?
Do not boast about what is not yours, because you are earthly!
The hater of our race looks at me as something lowly,
but does not discern the power which clothed me from the womb.
Hidden from him is the reason for my coming to men;
and he does not know of that new fashioning that will come to be through me.
Also in silence I conceal my majesty from him,
until he accomplishes his great treachery by imposing death upon me.
Now in a counter suit, I will show him from laws
that he unjustly calumniates me with mortality.
If mortals succumbed to him because they sinned,
then I who am clean of the scars of sin - why does he pronounce judgment against me?
If Adam succumbed and was taken as a hostage because he listened to his advice,
then why me, whom he has not prevailed over for even a second - why does he pronounce
judgment against me?
Therefore, it is evident that he wrongfully assails me in his rashness
and unjustly wields his sceptre over mortals.
And even though it is evident that I am free from his slavery,
I accept willingly death from his treachery.
With death he threatens and tries to terrify me as other mortals;
but through death, I will deprive him of his authority.
With the armor of mortal passions, he battles against me;
but by my own personal suffering, I will teach him that his armor is weak.
In that very way that he thinks that there have been given to him as hostages Adam and his sons,
I will cancel the bond of his lordship over mortals.
By death, he sealed the bond of mankind's debts;
and through death upon a cross, I will tear it up.
In the sight of spiritual and corporeal beings, I will void
that sentence of condemnation about which he boasts as a conqueror.
To heavenly and earthly ones, I will show
the redemption of life and the renewal that will be fulfilled in me.
Heaven and earth I call upon as reliable witnesses;
and with the name of the hidden One, I will seal the promise that I have made in words.
Rational and mute beings have become mediators between me and the evil one,
testifying that, without any debts on my part, he is provoking a judgment and is attempting
to bring about my death.
And if he is acting wrongly as one iniquitous and thirsting after blood,
judge justly and rebuke his iniquity and expose his deceit.
Behold! I will accept his sentence of unjust condemnation
and show that it is not by necessity that death has prevailed over me.
Behold! I will descend to the depth of Sheol as into the sea
and swiftly proclaim the name of my victory.
Behold! I will fulfill the types of the mysteries which the just have delineated
and requite Jonah who died because of me.
In reality I will accomplish this descent,
showing that he (Jonah) descended and ascended and proclaimed my victory in mystery.
In mystery, a fish swallowed Jonah; and he died while not dying.
For me, in reality, death will swallow me, but will not corrupt me.
Let therefore the Gates of Sheol rise up before me,
so that I may enter and lead the captivity of Adam away from the strong one!
I will descend in the blood of my own New Testament
and redeem the prisoners whom death has confined within the pit of Sheol.
With my blood I will write out and seal the redemption of men,
because death is the witness who ratifies my Testament.
Upon the gibbet I will write it out in my own blood
and tear up the bond for the debtors who succumbed to sin".
Jesus' Descent into Sheol
The vivifier of all descended and bathed in Sheol,
a dead sea,
and conferred a power of vitality to the dead waters.
With a gentle breeze, he stirred those who were senseless;
and thousands of the dead began to proceed to the rendezvous of life.
By a silent vibration, the mighty one called upon insatiable Death;
and terror seized him (Death) when he heard about the new report of the restitution of the
"Give me the captive sons of Adam whom the evil one gave you!
You have enslaved long enough the free-born sons under your harsh yoke."
The Raising of the Dead
The tyrant Death trembled and was dismayed at the
sound of his words;
and, although unwillingly, he brought forth the captivity of men to meet him.
The prisoners came forth from within the pit of lifelessness
and proclaimed the hope of the resurrection of the dead to those without hope.
New tidings the dead brought to those living and dead;
but the living rejected the new message which the dead spoke.
The buried who came to life became its envoys to the buried dead,
and announced the news about the word of redemption in the ears of everyone.
At the voice of the departed, were raised the dead of iniquity,
while they were seeing the renewal of the body and the redemption of the soul.
The dead to the dead were recounting the new event that had come to pass
of how a dead man prevailed over death and raised the dead.
This great marvel was being spoken of in the land of Judea, (Matt. 27:52-53)
whenever a dead man would chance upon a living one whom he used to know.
It was not the departed who died a long time ago who came to life by the cross,
because each one was recognizing his brother and kinsman.
For he did not raise those of former times -who were far removed
lest the eye of flesh might deny the testimony of truth.
From the same generation of those who used to live in this present life,
some of them he raised to be witnesses of his proclamation.
Hail to The Risen Conqueror
Hail to the mighty one who descended to Sheol by
that way that everyone has,
because he opened the way for man's journey from the -household of death!
Hail to the, buried one whom death devoured but who has not been corrupted!
Hail to the corporeal one whose bodily structure has not decomposed!
Hail to the athlete who engaged in a contest with the strong one!
The strong one had thought that he had fallen; but he, in turn, overthrew him
and raised up his race!
He fell as he wanted in body and soul, as befitted those guilty;
but he rose and was raised to life and raised the body and freed the soul.
With this intent, he engaged in a contest with the strong one,
that, by his victory, he might free his race om bondage.
By death, the vivifier of the universe subdued the subduer of the universe.
In that very way that he thought that he prevailed over men, he was humbled.
By death, Adam and his sons wrote out a bond of slavery;
and through death, the Second Adam freed Adam and his sons.
The mortal Second Adam died because of Adam;
and the son of Adam rose and gave life to Adam and his offspring.
There died the corporeal one who was structured with the timbers of the Spirit;
but he rose and was raised to life by the power of the Divine Artificer Who
pulled him down and built him up.
The Presence of Angels at Jesus' Grave
At the resurrection of his body, there rejoiced
earthly and heavenly ones;
and he gladdened those who were sad because of his death.
The spiritual ones rejoiced because he had conquered, by his death, insatiable
and they descended and attended upon his body in the grave as a conqueror.
His grave was considered by the heavenly ones to be the King's temple;
and they were chanting a hymn of victory to the subduer of Death.
Praise they shouted forth to him while he was ascending out of the grave:
"Blessed is he who, by his death, has murdered death who had corrupted men!"
They were greatly saddened over his departure from life as they would over a king;
but he clothed them with a radiant appearance on the day of his resurrection.
In white garments he showed the heavenly ones,
to teach them about the renewal which will come to be through him.
The vigilant ones then showed earthly beings the wondrous sight
of the radiant garment which bodies will put on the day of the resurrection.
Through the comeliness of their garments, they taught them,
and in a sign of peace, they sowed in their ears their message of redemption.
"Whom do you seek," an angel said to the women, "the living one among the dead?
Come! See that he has risen and been raised to life and has prevailed over death!"
The angels rolled away the rock from the mouth of the grave by a hidden act;
and an entrance opened before their eyes, and they entered and examined the grave.
Why indeed did the vigilant ones take away the rock that had been sealed?
Because it was difficult for the conqueror of death to raise up the rock?
For behold! The resurrection which was exceedingly difficult he accomplished by
an act. Then how is it that the rock which was easy to remove he did not raise?
His body he rescued from the mouth of death, a swift lion;
But for a lowly rock he called spiritual ones to raise it up!
It was not difficult for that command which raised his body
to lift up the rock before the entrance and then let him go forth.
For the eyes of corporeal ones, they took away the rock,
so that they might see the grave and the body's clothing and take hope.
To assure men, he opened the grave in the presence of eye-witnesses,
so that they would not doubt about his resurrection over whether or not he had risen.
That he rose is certain! And this is far more radiant than the sun!
The spread of his preaching testifies to this to the four quarters of the world.
And even though his resurrection is revealed to the universe through deeds,
to the hard-hearted and blind of soul it is not visible.
That he rose and has been raised to life - behold! the manifestation is seen
in his majestic power which has nullified error and loosened the bonds of mortality.
The Fulfillment of Jonah's Prophecy
He rose after three days, and the promise that
he spoke was not broken;
and he fulfilled the mystery which the son of Amittai depicted in the belly of the fish.
For three days, the prophet was in the depth in mystery;
and he accomplished this mystery in reality by being three days in the grave.
In regard to Jonah, the mystery was that he died while not dying and he returned to life.
and here the fact is that he truly died but was not corrupted.
The Son of Amittai ascended out of the depth of the sea, just as he descended;
and he depicted the manifestation of death and life and the return of the Gentiles.
With this intent the Divine Will sent Jonah to search after the Gentiles,
that he might depict the mystery of this that has come to be at the fulness of the ages.
Also the first-fruits for the universe died for the sake of all,
and rose and was raised to life and proclaimed life to the Jewish People and the Gentiles.
The Significance of The Folded Garments
He came forth from the grave and left his garments
that he has henceforth put off mortality and put on glory.
Two things he signified by the garments that he left behind, acting as a wise man:
that to him they are useless and that they will be witnesses for the faithless.
The faithlessness of the sons of Jacob was revealed to him
on how they would cover over with calumny the bestowal of his new life.
By the garments which he left behind, he exposed their treacherous intentions,
by showing how his body snatchers neglected his garments in the grave.
In myrrh and aloes his body was embalmed and laid carefully in the grave;
and for those carrying him off it was easy to remove him in his garments.
If then they stole him as terror-stricken fugitives,
how is it that they took off and folded his garments in tranquility?
Blind jealousy has blinded the calumniators;
and they have not discerned the public witness of his bodily resurrection.
With garments of silver they wanted to cover over his proclamation of a new life;
but he rent the garment, fashioned from deceit, and its fabrics.
With silver they had purchased him from Judas for the bondage of death;
and after he had risen, they denied his resurrection with treacherous silver.
Nature's Testimony Concerning the Resurrection
But what can treacherous silver do against evident
when it is, as it were, heralded from the mouth of inanimate beings?
Rocks and graves and the Temple veil cried out to rational beings,
"Arise, slumberers, and receive the hope of life for the dead"!
And if inanimate and mute " beings have shouted his victory,
of no avail then is the treacherous silver 'and it is not to be believed!
Rational and dumb beings became his witnesses to the faithless,
and they have subscribed to the testament concerning his death and his life.
As a skillful scribe, the powerful Spirit sealed his victory
and demonstrated this by the veil which He rent in two.
He showed that He had left the Temple of Sacrificial Atonement for the Jewish People
and that He no longer takes pleasure in the blood of heifers for the reconciliation of men.
The veil revealed His rebuke for the insolent,
in that, if an inanimate being was struck and rent, how much more will He do this to
Man's moral discernment was deserving of wrathful scourgings;
but He raised a rod and struck a garment instead of the mind.
He put back the sword of condemnation out of mercy
and raised His hand to bring down His rod; but His love restrained Him.
He did not demand from them satisfaction for his death, as though they were guilty,
because it did not befit the vivifier of men to destroy men.
Mortality Crucified and Raised to Life
"For the life of men," he said "I have come --
not for destruction!"
And he confirmed his words through deeds.
He died for the sake of all and gave life to the universe, as he had promised.
He fulfilled and accomplished the salvific act required for all.
The Second Adam died in his nature as befitted mortals
and crucified with him mortality and gave it life by his life.
He gave over the edifice of his body's temple; and the evil ones pulled it down.
But the Word of the Father restored and built it according to His promise.
He descended according to his nature that begets passions and dwelt in Sheol
and brought up with him a catch of men to a new life.
He broke through the wall which death had built before the dead,
and opened a way for mortality to vitality.
Jesus' Victory Speech
He raised his voice as a captain before his soldiers:
"Rise and take courage! I have conquered death and the evil one!
I engaged in a hidden contest in my visible body
and conquered the strong one in this trial of strength and plundered his wealth.
A just law suit I entered against him before the Judge,
and then condemned him because our race was unjustly captive to him.
The bond of Adam's iniquity he brought forth and showed in accordance with the laws
but one that had not been sealed with the signature of reliable witnesses.
And then there was revealed the lie that was hidden in his words.
The King Himself rebuked him and gave the order to cast him into exile.
And now therefore that I have conquered and the strong one, the enemy of our
race, has succumbed,
I make my companions also share in the greatness of my victory.
The power of immortal life the Spirit gave me;
and with it I will arm passibility against passions.
Behold! Spiritual armor is forged for carnal beings.
Put it on, O mortals, and battle and conquer spiritually!
Under a sentence of death you were condemned and given as hostages.
Come! Receive gratis the bond containing your debts and acquire life!
By my own death , I have crushed death who corrupted men.
And through my victory, there has been condemned and exposed the ruler of the air."
Hail to the victory of that one who, when he was conquered, conquered the tyrant!
Hail to the fall of the corporeal one who fell and raised up mankind!
There fell the mortal one, the temple of flesh whom the Spirit built;
but the good pleasure of the King Who was dwelling in him has renewed and
built him up.
Narsai the Nestorian Rejects His Adversaries' Position
Who is the one who fell under death,O lovers of
and who is the one who paid the debtors' bond and freed them?
Whose death is it who died in his nature and has truly risen?
Whose resurrection is it whose heralds were also inanimate beings?
Reveal to us the goal of your intentions, so that we may take aim against it!
Why do you want to call the dead one, 'the one who has conquered death'?
To which nature befit the Passion and also victory?
Reveal and signify to us as searchers after truths!
If the Word, the Offspring of the Father, has suffered in His Nature,
then our nature did not suffer-with Him in the death of His Being!
If our lowly nature has not died and also been raised to life,
O then false and vain is the hope of life for the dead!
If an impassible Nature death was devouring,
how then did It suffer? In Its own Nature or in our nature?
If according to Its own Nature It experienced death, this is impious!
Did all of It then suffer or did It in part suffer and was tried?
Behold! There is nothing Impassible- or passib!e,
which partly suffers and partly remains unchanged!
If the Only Begotten fell according to His Nature under death,
then He would interrupt the perpetuity belonging to name of His Divine Essence.
And if He fell according to your discourse, not according to ours -
who would raise Him from His fall and give Him life?
That this 'Fallen One' should raise Himself, this is perverse!
And that another should raise Him, then He is in need and also deficient!
And if the Spirit and the power of the Father righted His fall,
behold, it is apparent that He is far inferior to the Divine Essence!
And if He is less than the Divine Essence - it is not I who have said this! -
why do you find fault with Arius as alien to the faith?
For this reason the Church has expelled him out of its doors,
that he diminishes the Son and makes him inferior to His Begetter.
And if in this way this is iniquitous to speak in this way,
weave a crown for the blasphemer because he has expounded well!
"You," I say, "do this!" We cannot!
There is a great chasm between us and you, and it is unbridgeable!
We do not give over to the heretics a rent garment
and we do not pour new wine into wineskins of error!
We do not give our pure, holy faith
to dumb dogs who do not perceive the power of the hidden Divinity!
We do not cast the pearls of our soul's confession
before minds that are animal-like lovers of dung!
We do not travel along a trackless way with the erring
and we do not go forth on a false path of passibility!
We do not abase the One exalted above the universe to affliction
and we do not kill that vitality which gives life!
It is the lowly nature of man that fell in Sheol under death;
it is a son of mortals who died according to his nature for the abolition of death!
Death had struck the earthen vessel, formed out of dust,
which the Fashioner of the universe has refashioned.in a spiritual way.
He is the one who dwelt three days with those deceased,
and he was raised to life on the third day and has raised his race to life.
He is the one who descended to the lowly things of earthly beings,
and he is the one who has ascended above the universe to raise up the universe.
Into his bodily structure, the insolent thrust nails and a spear;
and by his renewal, he has cancelled the bond incurred because of its bodily passions.
He descended unto the lion's den, clad in the armor of the Spirit,
and snatched the prey of Adam's body which was torn to pieces.
He cried out in Sheol as a strong man; and its foundations shook;
and he smashed its gates and broke its bars and plundered it and went forth.
The Angels Proclaim His Victory
The gates raised up their veil as he was going
and the spiritual ones were singing praise to the power that brought him his victory.
Heaven and earth became his spokemen to the faithless.
"They have rejected life"! the deceased cried out and dumb beings have confirmed this.
The multitudes on high descended to honor the earthly one
and celebrated his death and proclaimed his life to his companions.
The hope of life the vigilant ones brought to the household of mortals:
"Arise and take courage, 0 earthly ones, in the abolition of death!
Cry out and say to the corrupter of your limbs:
'Where is your sting, O serpent who killed us in the eating of the fruit?'
Repeat this and mock him, as you laugh at his strategems!
What will you do because life has cut down the tree of death?"
Like Samson, they spoke with him in riddles,
saying : "The body which you had devoured has become a source that begets life.
From within the eater there came forth to him spiritual food;
and from our dust that begets passions has emanated a sweetness."
A Concluding Exhortation
Let there rejoice with us heaven and earth, rational
and dumb beings,
because the sacrifice of our body has reconciled the Lord with His creatures!
One first fruit our race has offered to the Divinity;
and He has given us, through him, a sign of peace and the renewal of the universe.
With us let earthly and heavenly beings confess :
"Blessed be He Who in our body has shown His love for those whom He has fashioned."