The Mystery of Death by Nikolaos P Vassiliadis
Published by the Orthodox Brotherhood of Theologians, “The Saviour”, Athens, 1993.
The significance of our Lord Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and conquest over death is thoroughly explored by Nikolaos P Vassiliadis in his highly acclaimed and much referenced work titled, The Mystery of Death. He commences with the profound impact of death upon all humanity and explores the secular and ancient Greeks’ view of death. He then explores how sin was the cause of death, the consequential separation of the soul and body, and how this punishment becomes a blessing through the incarnation of God the Logos who abolishes death in His Crucifixion, descent into Hades, and victorious Resurrection: The Resurrection is the miracle of miracles; the worthy culmination of the entire supernatural ministry of the God-Man. The Resurrection is not only an event of universal concern; it is not only the resurrection of our hopes and the fulfillment of our desires; it is not only a dawn of new life to which humanity has turned since then with great aspirations. It is, however, primarily and above all, our reconciliation with God; the total defeat of the devil; the definite destruction of death.
The author articulates the fundamental teachings of Christianity on the mystery of death by gathering from many Scriptural and Patristic sources. Key themes that are addressed include: overcoming the fear of death and how the Fathers console us; Christians philosphising creatively on death and the compelling need to maintain a memory of death; the difference between an evil and a good death; care for the dead after death; the funeral service; the sobering accounting of the souls before the toll-houses; the intermediate state of souls; the sacred memorials for the dead; how the resurrection of the dead will come about; what the nature of the resurrected bodies will be; how the universal judgment will take place; whether there is an eternal hell; what the nature of eternal Paradise will be; and, how the world that comes to an end will be renewed and virtue and holiness will thereafter dwell. If we die healthy and healed from the passions of sin through repentance, we pass onto the Kingdom of Heaven.
Source: April – May 2016 Lychnos Edition