Saturday 26 March 2016

Saturday 26th March - The Harrowing of Hell

"He descended into Hell"

I don't always look properly at pictures; Dame Catherine, in her blog post here

comments on how tenderly Jesus takes the poor souls by the hand and leads them out of the mouth of Hell, while keeping the Devil at bay in this picture. So I paused to look properly.

Note on the illustration
Harrowing of Hell, illumination about 1190, York; written about 1490, Tempera colours and gold leaf on parchment
Leaf: 11.9 x 17 cm (4 11/16 x 6 11/16 in.)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 101, fol. 82v

Elsewhere, here is Christ pulling a sinner from Hell carved on the baptismal font in St. Mary Magdalene Church, Eardisley, Herefordshire, England.
This Saturday is often a day of  bleakness, remembering the horrific events of the first Good Friday (the weather today certainly fits that mood) and for the followers of Christ it must have been grim indeed. But it seems as though Jesus has already left the tomb, and that he is already alive, hard at work releasing the captives from Hell.

It is worth following the link to the website that I snitched this picture from

for more pictures of the font. There is also some interesting information about the carving, the tradition of the Harrowing of Hell, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Bleak House, and the Hound of the Baskervilles all get a mention....  I think I want to visit Herefordshire again sometime.

I never really understood the pleasures of "church-crawling" in the past, but now it HURTS when we drive past an interesting looking church.  

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