The Descent Into Hades (Vol II, Ch 18)

By Michael Ruse:

“Remove, O prince, your gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in.” That is an early Christian writing taken from the Gospel of Nicodemos. It’s describing Chapter 18’s theme of Christ’s entering into Hades. Was everyone saved there? Are only the Old Testament righteous saved when Christ entered Hades? We often think preaching the Gospel is only for people who haven’t died yet here on earth. Metropolitan Hilarion explores this question and how Christ achieved victory over death, the devil, and, most rarely talked about, Hell itself. 

Although there isn’t a systematic idea found in the Fathers of the Church about whether not Hades was emptied after Christ’s death, there is support from Scripture, Tradition, Liturgical texts for worship, liturgical poetry, and Apostolic teachings on this rare but important subject of Christ’s descent into Hell and what happened there exactly.