Christ’s Passion Overcomes Death

Christ’s Passion Overcomes Death


Archimandrite Ephraim, Abbot of the Vatopaidi Monastery


When Christians talk about death, they don’t do so with pessimism, they aren’t resigned to it, they don’t think it natural. They see it principally as an enemy which must be defeated through Christ. ‘The last enemy to be destroyed is death, (I Cor. 15, 26); ‘The Word became flesh’ (Jn. 1, 14); ‘that he might destroy him who holds the dominion of death, that is, the devil’ (Heb. 2, 14).

God became a human person in order to destroy death and sin and to defeat the devil. Christ assumed a mortal body, one that was subject to suffering, in order to overcome death in His own body. Through His crucifixion and resurrection, He defeated death and gave us the opportunity to be united with Him, to overcome death ourselves in our own life. So after the incarnation of God the Word, death changes for Christians, both as regards name and orientation: it is no longer called death, but dormition and it becomes a bridge towards life eternal. The faithful cross over ‘from death to life’ (Jn. 5, 24).

Saint Nikodimos the Athonite advises us not to forget that ‘death is such a sudden thief that you never know when it is coming on your account. It may be this very day, this hour, this moment. You may wake up well, yet not get through to the evening; and you who’ve arrived at the evening may not wake up in the morning… So think on these things and say to yourself: ‘If I’m to die, and perhaps by sudden death, what will become of me, wretch that I am? What good will it do me then, if I enjoy all the pleasures of the world?… Get behind me, Satan and bad thoughts. I don’t want to listen to you trying to make me sin’.

According to the Fathers and the experience of the Church, the departed, especially those who have died suddenly, benefit greatly from memorial services, forty liturgies, prayers, alms and our own Christian life, so long as it reflects as light on their own souls.





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OCN has partnered with Pemptousia. A Contemporary post-modern man does not understand what man is.  Through its presence in the internet world, Pemptousia, with its spirit of respect for beauty that characterizes it, wishes to contribute to the presentation of a better meaning of life for man, to the search for the ontological dimension of man, and to the awareness of the unfathomable mystery of man who is always in Christ in the process of becoming, of man who is in the image of divine beauty. And the beauty of man springs from the beauty of the Triune God. In the end, “beauty will save the world”.

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Pemptousia Partnership

Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.