Home      Back to Ascension Day




Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors 
and the Holy Fathers
The Ascension Of Jesus Christ 
Brethren and fathers, a feast of feasts, the Assumption of our Saviour Jesus Christ, is at our doors, and a great and supernatural mystery; for our nature is being taken up beyond heaven, as it written: By grace you have been saved; and he has raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [Ephesians 2,5-6] who is at the right hand of God, [Romans 8,34] far above every principality and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in that which to come. And he has put all things under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. [Ephesians 1,22-23] 
St Ephrem - Catechesis 7 - http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/ths07.htm  

Do you see then to what height of glory human nature has been raised? Is it not from earth to heaven? Is it not from corruption to incorruption? How hard would not someone toil in order to become the intimate friend of a corruptible king here below? But we, although we were alienated and hostile in our intent by evil deeds, have not only been reconciled to God the Father, through our Lord Jesus Christ, but we have also soared aloft to sonship, and now our nature is worshipped in the heavens by every creature seen and unseen. 
St Ephrem - Catechesis 7 - http://web.ukonline.co.uk/ephrem/ths07.htm  

He Who descended to earth, as He alone knew how, Rising up from it (again as He knew how), He took the ones whom He loved, and gathering them together, He led them to a high mountain In order that, when they had their minds and sensibilities on the height, They might forget all lowly things. And so, when they were led up to the Mount of Olives, They formed a circle around the Benefactor, As Luke, one of the initiates, narrates in full. (Lk. 24:50-53) The Lord, raising His hands like wings-- Just as the eagle covers the nest of young birds which she warms-- Spoke to the nestlings: "I have sheltered you from all evil Since I loved you and you loved Me. I am not separated from you; I am with you, and no one is against you. 
On the Ascension, from The Kontakia of Romanos, Vol. I.  

O my disciples, on high over you, As God and Maker of the whole world, I stretch out My hands, hands which the lawless stretched, bound, and nailed down. Do you, then, place your heads under my hands; Understand and know, friends, what I am bringing to pass. For just as though baptizing you, I place My hands on you now, And blessing you, I send you forth Enlightened and made wise. On your heads, praise and beauty, On your spirits, a shining glory, as is written. For I pour out on you from My own Spirit, and you will be accepted by Me, Instructed and chosen, trusted members of the inner circle. I am not separated from you; I am with you, and no one is against you. 
Kontakia of Romanos, On the Ascension.  

On this account it foretells his bodily ascension into heaven, and says in Psalm 23, "Lift up your gates, you princes and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in." And in the forty-sixth, "God is gone up with a shout, the Lord with a sound of a trumpet." It announces the session at God's right hand, and says in Psalm 109, "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit on my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool." 
Interpretation on the Psalms, in The Letter to Marcellinus by St. Athanasius of Alexandria.  

When Thou didst raise up Thy sacred hands that Thou mightest bless Thy disciples who travelled with Thee, O Christ, as well as Thy Mother, on the way to Bethany, while Thou stoodest there blessing them, a cloud of light came and straightway took Thee from their sight and bare Thee to the heights. Thus didst Thou ascend in great glory and didst take Thy seat at the right hand of the Father, where with Him Thou art adored. 
Aposticha of Ascension Thursday Vespers, from the Pentecostarion. 

Used with the permission of Fr Seraphim Holland from his website