Hilarion Alfeyev’s book, Christ the Conqueror of Hell is a well-put-together overview on the patristic thought of Christ’s descent into Hell. I think he comes out a bit too harsh on the Latin patristics though.
The book is mostly an explanation of post-mortem evangelization in Eastern Orthodox theology. Alfeyev attempts to lay the charge on Catholics that they reject this view as heretical. Since he has given no reference for that from official Catholic teaching, I would have to take him as a grain of salt on this statement.
Overall, I enjoyed the perspective given on post-mortem evangelization and I think his work really effectively deals with the philosophical problem of Hell. I would suggest to anyone struggling with faith based on the problem of Hell.
His explanations of the Eastern Orthodox liturgy are also greatly needed in a time where so few people know about this ancient tradition (especially those in westernized societies). Even religious studies programs don’t focus on the Eastern Orthodox.
As an Eastern Catholic catechumen right now, I greatly appreciated Hilarion Alfeyev’s work even though I’m hesitant to accept his dogmatic pronouncements against Catholics. I think that nationalism and cultural elitism is one thing that Eastern Orthodox Christians definitely have to work on.