Christ the Conqueror of Hell: The Descent into Hades from an Orthodox Perspective
By Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev (SVS Press, 2009)
What could a Russian Orthodox Archbishop’s in-depth look at Eastern liturgies have to do with the urban church? Very much it turns out.
Archbishop Hilarion Alfeyev demonstrates that while emphasizing Christ’s decent to Hades may be out of fashion today, it was vital to the early church. He shows this from the New Testament, other early Christian writings, and the Church Fathers. The early church’s hope rested entirely on Christ’s victory over death and hell. This belief fundamentally shapes the life of the church.
The second half of the book delves deeper into the Eastern Orthodox liturgies and will perhaps not be as interesting as the first half for many non-Orthodox readers. However, the survey from the New Testament through the Fathers is worth the price of the book. The author successfully shows that…