So many things to like about this image from the 15th century master. As with all the Orthodox icons I’ve seen, a demon has been crushed under the door. Jesus reaches out a hand to someone. And in this image, a whole host of souls is lined up to get out.
From St John Chrysostom, a bit of spiritual trash-talking:
Let no one fear death,
for the Savior’s death has set us free.
He that was taken by death has annihilated it!
He descended into hades and took hades captive!
He embittered it when it tasted his flesh!
And anticipating this Isaiah exclaimed,
“Hades was embittered
when it encountered thee
in the lower regions.”
It was embittered, for it was abolished!
It was embittered, for it was mocked!
It was embittered, for it was purged!
It was embittered, for it was despoiled!
It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!
It took a body and, face to face, met God!
It took earth and encountered heaven!
It took what it saw but crumbled before what it had not seen!