Reading for the Feast of the Holy Ascension “The Lord Jesus 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, the fortieth day after 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 come 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 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 of Faith concerning the Son and 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 sacred disciples, they returned from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem, rejoicing because Christ had promised to send them the Holy Spirit.”
This beautiful icon depicts Christ and His church with the scene separated into two parts: heaven and earth. Our Saviour is set within a circle carried by angels. He blesses us with one hand and holds a scroll of all His earthly teachings in the other. This positioning also serves to remind us, as no direction up or down is indicated, that as Our Lord ascended in glory so will He come again in glory. Olive trees are scattered throughout the background to represent the Mount of Olives and denote the earthly plane. The holy Theotokos is centered directly underneath Our Saviour with hands uplifted in prayer and supplication as she is our intercessor before her Son and our God. The disciples are gathered around her in a sort of confusion as they await the descent of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Saint Philaret of New York reminds us that “the Lord’s Ascension and enthronement at the right hand of God the Father, completed the immediate deed laid upon Him, which He completed “for us men and our salvation.” ” Click here to read two edifying and brief homilies on the Feast of the Ascension by Saint Philaret.
As always, please check our newly updated Weekly Schedule of Services which lists parish services as well as services at the convent and monastery.
Of special note, the Holy Synod of the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece, under the presidency of Archbishop Makarios of Athens and All Greece, recently consecrated eight new bishops between April 29 & May 10, 2014.
Bishops from our Holy Orthodox Church in North America (HOCNA) also participated in several of these consecrations. Click on the picture to the left to view pictures from 6 of the ordinations. May Our Savior grant our new hierarchs Many Years! Axios! Axios! Axios! You can view many more beautiful pictures from the ordinations here.
And our News page has just been updated to include pictures from many events of the past few months including Great Lent, Holy Week, Pascha, the Spring cleanup and recent baptisms. Our parish has been busy, Glory be to God, and these pictures are more wonderful examples of our living Faith.
Also, the new coffee hour schedule for June, July and August has been posted. Note that, for the summer months, coffee hour will be coffee and sweets only and not a full meal. This change has been requested as many Sundays during the summer months have significantly less attendance and there is often a great deal of leftover food after trapeza and it gives us all more time outside in the sunshine and not over the church kitchen sink! Remember to switch with another group if you are unable to take your scheduled week.
Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA