The Harrowers are a term used to describe individuals or
groups of people banding together to fight the forces of hell. Over the centuries there have been many that
fought against evil both through prayer and occasionally in a more direct
method by engaging in combat. The "original" Harrowing of Hades is a reference to Jesus Christ descending into Hades in the three days between his crucifixion and resurrection to save the willing souls of those that died prior to his reign on earth. It is explained in the icon below, followed by explanations from the Hellraiser comics/books and finally actual spiritual warriors from the church's history.
Between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection three days
later, biblical references and holy tradition (teaching), tells us that he
descended into Hades to save the souls that died prior to his arrival on
Jesus can be seen center labeled
with the “Yahweh” around his halo. He is
reaching and grabbing the first man, Adam, by the wrist and pulling him up
showing that Jesus is doing the saving.
Adam’s robe appears to be changing color from white to blue, almost like
Jesus is bringing the life back into him.
Standing next to Adam is other notable people from the Old Testament
including: Eve (in red), Abel (youth
with the shepherd staff), Isaiah and Moses.
On the opposite side is: St. John The Forerunner/Baptist (unkempt hair)
along with King David and King Solomon.
At the foot of the icon is Death and/or Satan which is shown bound by
Jesus. The two wooden rectangles are the
gates of Hades which are shown broken and torn apart. Next to them are keys, broken locks and
shattered chains symbolizing that Jesus has entered and conquered both death
and Hades. They lie next to the empty
tombs of Adam and Even showing their resurrection.
St. Demetrius of Thessaloniki lived in the late 3rd century and early 4th century. He was martyred by the Roman Emperor in the early 4th century. He is often seen defeating the gladiator Lyaeus, a great persecutor of Christians, who he defeated in spiritual combat. His relics are currently in the church in Thessaloniki, Greece and he is often referred to as myrrh-streamer due to the sweet fragrance and stick substance his relics emanate.
The icon of St. Demetrius is sometimes included on the
iconostasis (screen separating the parishioners and the alter in Orthodox churches), as in Annunciation. He can
be identified from his image by his appearance as a soldier. He is often seen paired with St. George and to differentiate
between the two you typically need to read the Greek above the shoulders of
St. George lived in the late 3rd and early 4th centuries. He was a Roman officer of Greek descent. He is known for saving a town from a dragon or serpent. It is unclear if this was a literal "monster" or more a figurative monster that was terrorizing the town.
St. George is the frequently prayed to via intercessory prayers as a protector of soldiers.