My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Η ΑΝΑΛΗΨΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΚΥΡΙΟΥ ΗΜΩΝ ΙΗΣΟΥ ΧΡΙΣΤΟΥ – THE ASCENSION
OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ passed FORTY DAYS ON EARTH AFTER His Resurrection from the dead, appearing continually in various places to His Disciples, with whom He also spoke, ate, and drank, thereby further demonstrating His Resurrection. On this Thursday, June 10th, the FORTIETH DAY AFTER THE CELEBRATION OF THE ALL-HOLY PASCHA, He appeared again in Jerusalem. After He had first spoken to the Disciples about many things, He gave them His last commandment, that is, that they go forth AND PROCLAIM His Name TO ALL NATIONS, BEGINNING FROM JERUSALEM. But He also commanded them that for the present, they were not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait there together UNTIL THEY RECEIVE POWER FROM ON HIGH when the Holy Spirit would descend upon them.
Saying these things, He led them to the Mount of Olives, and raising His hands, He blessed them, and saying again the words of the Father’s blessing, He was parted from them and TAKEN UP. Immediately a cloud of Light, a proof of His Majesty, received Him. Sitting thereon as though on a Royal Chariot, He was TAKEN UP INTO HEAVEN, and after a short time was concealed from the sight of the Holy Disciples, who remained where they were with their eyes fixed on Him. At this point, two Angels in the form of men in white raiment appeared to them and said, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken up from you into Heaven, SHALL SO COME IN LIKE MANNER AS YE HAVE SEEN HIM GO INTO HEAVEN/" (Acts 1:11). These words in a complete and concise manner, declare what is taught in the Symbol (Creed) of Faith concerning the Son and Logos/Word of God. Therefore, having so fulfilled all His dispensation for us, our Lord Jesus Christ ASCENDED IN GLORY INTO HEAVEN AND SAT AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE Father. As for HIs Holy Disciples, they returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, rejoicing because Christ had PROMISED US TO SEND DOWN THE Holy Spirit.
It should be noted that the Mount of Olives is a Sabbath’s day journey from Jerusalem, that is, the distance a Jew was permitted to walk o the day of the Sabbath. Ecumenius writes, "A Sabbath day’s journey is one mile in length, as Saint Clement says in his Fifth Stromatis; it is two thousand cubits, as the Interpretation of the Acts states." They draw this conclusion from the fact that, while they were in the wilderness, the Israelites of old kept within this distance from the Holy Tabernacle, whither they walked on the Sabbath day to worship God.
"The feast of the Lord’s Ascension has great meaning and importance for the Christian and spiritual life because IT IS CONNECTED WITH THE DEIFICATION (THEOSIS) OF EVERY PERSON."
The Old Testament makes prophecies about this Great Even, and the New Testament presents it. Prophecy relating to the Ascension is revealed in the Psalms. In Psalm 18:9-10 we read: "He bowed the heavens also, and came down with darkness under His feet. And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind."
What took place in the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ should take place in the life of every Orthodox Christian. Everyone without any exception at all should live Christ’s Passion, Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension in our life. We must all pray for illumination from God and go up where Christ is and enjoy His Ascension "using action and vision of God." The action is PURIFICATION of the heart by keeping the Gospel commandments, and the vision is the illumination of our soul.
It is spiritually profitable that we truly live a life of virtue and piety. Our devotion must be real and our commitment unwavering. Our loyalty, as the disciples of Christ, must be unyielding and strong, our faith must not be lukewarm but filled with the fire of the grace of the Holy Spirit. It is imperative to implement purity of the body and soul. A Christian believer must keep the eye of his or her soul as a watchful guard so that when the evil one appears and attempts to pollute him or her with carnal sins he or shi will be able to say: "I am not going to turn traitor to the Lord’s possession" (Saint Epiphanios). In other words, I will not betray and turn over to the devil that which belongs to my God and Savior.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) hymn of the Ascension. Fourth Tone
THOU HAST ASCENDED in glory, O Christ our God, and gladdened
Thy disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit; and they were
assured by the blessing that Thou art the Son of God and Redeemer
of the world.
Konatkion Hymn. Plagal of Second Tone
WHEN Thou hadst fulfilled Thy dispensation for our sake, uniting
things on earth with the Heavens, Thou didst ascend in glory, O
Christ our God, departing not hence. but remaining inseparable
from us and crying unto them that love Thee: I am with you, and
no one can be against you.
GLORY TO THEE O LORD, GLORY TO THEE!
"Glory Be To GOD