Hesychius of Jerusalem: “We are Saved and Christ is Adored”
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘they have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’” (John 20:1–2)
To be honest, we don’t know that much about Hesychius of Jerusalem beyond the fact that he was called Hesychius and came from Jerusalem! Born in the late fourth century, he was a priest in Jerusalem at about AD412, wrote many works on various books of the Old and New Testaments, and was held in high esteem. Alas, many of those works are now lost, or can only be reconstructed from lengthy quotes in other books. A particular value was his Church History, which was consulted at the second council at Chalcedon in 553. Inevitably, though, this too is gone.
The sermon quoted below was preached on Easter Day at some stage in the first half of the fifth century.
Hidden first in a womb of flesh, he sanctified human birth by his own birth. Hidden afterward in the womb of the earth, he gave life to the dead by his resurrection. Suffering, pain and sighs have now fled away. For who has known the mind of God, or who has been his counsellor if not the Word made flesh who was nailed to the cross, who rose from the dead and who was taken up into heaven? This day brings a message of joy: it is the day of the Lord’s resurrection when, with himself, he raised up the race of Adam. Born for the sake of human beings, he rose from the dead with them. On this day paradise is opened by the risen one, Adam is restored to life and Eve is consoled. On this day the divine call is heard, the kingdom is prepared, we are saved and Christ is adored. On this day, when he had trampled death under foot, made the tyrant a prisoner and despoiled the underworld, Christ ascended into heaven as a king in victory, as a ruler in glory, as an invincible charioteer. He said to the Father, “Here am I, O God, with the children you have given me.” And he heard the Father’s reply, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”To him be glory, now and for ever, through endless ages. Amen. (Easter Homily 5–6.5)