Thursday, May 25, 2017

Homily on the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Gregory of Nyssa's brief homily on the Ascension is perhaps the most ancient witness of this feast's existence, and he does not hesitate to call it the "great celebration". The literal reading of the title is "Concerning that festive day which is said to be consecrated in the region of the Cappadocians: the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ." On the other hand, there is little allusion to Christ's ascension into heaven; the homily turns out to be more a commentary on Psalms 22 and 23. Because of this it is not difficult to see that Gregory's sermon was most likely composed about the same time as his Commentary on the Inscriptions of the Psalms.

History of the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord is one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church. On this day we commemorate the completion of Christ’s work for our salvation, the glorious entry of our Lord in His human nature into heaven, His seating at the right hand of the Father, as well as His promise of our own glorification with Him.

The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter Sunday, since in Scripture we read that Jesus, after His glorious resurrection, continued to appear to His disciples for “forty days,” talking to them about the “kingdom of God.” On the fortieth day our Lord took His disciples to the summit of the Mount of Olives, from where He ascended to His heavenly glory as predicted by the Prophet Zechariah: “On that day His feet shall rest upon the Mount of Olives, which is opposite Jerusalem to the east” (14:4).

What it Means That Christ Sits at the Right Hand of the Father (St. John of Damascus)

By St. John of Damascus

After Christ was risen from the dead He laid aside all His passions, I mean His corruption or hunger or thirst or sleep or weariness or such like. For, although He did taste food after the resurrection [Luke 24:43], yet He did not do so because it was a law of His nature (for He felt no hunger), but in the way of economy, in order that He might convince us of the reality of the resurrection, and that it was one and the same flesh which suffered and rose again. But He laid aside none of the divisions of His nature, neither body nor spirit, but possesses both the body and the soul intelligent and reasonable, volitional and energetic, and in this wise He sits at the right hand of the Father, using His will both as God and as man in behalf of our salvation, energizing in His divine capacity to provide for and maintain and govern all things, and remembering in His human capacity the time He spent on earth, while all the time He both sees and knows that He is adored by all rational creation. For His Holy Spirit knows that He is one in substance with God the Word, and shares as Spirit of God and not simply as Spirit the worship accorded to Him. Moreover, His ascent from earth to heaven, and again, His descent from heaven to earth, are manifestations of the energies of His circumscribed body. For He shall so come again to you, says he, in like manner as you have seen Him go into Heaven [Acts 1:11].

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ascension of Christ Resource Page

On this day, the Thursday of the sixth week of Pascha, we celebrate the Ascension of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Thou didst sit at the right hand of the Father, O Word,
Granting unto Thine initiates a most steadfast faith.

Synaxarion for the Thursday of the Ascension

History of the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord

The Ascension of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ

The Ascension of the Lord in the Flesh to Heaven

Homily on the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ (St. Gregory of Nyssa)

Synaxarion of Saint Symeon of the Wondrous Mountain

St. Symeon the New Stylite of the Wondrous Mountain (Feast Day - May 24)


Beforehand Symeon you inhabited the land of Wondrous Mountain,
Now you dwell on the all-wondrous mountain in the heavens.
On the twenty-fourth Symeon you entered where noetic beings are all around.

The Venerable and Wonderworking Symeon, lived during the reign of Emperor Justin II (565-574). He was born in Antioch of Syria, whose father was named John and was from Edessa, and mother was named Martha who was raised in Antioch. All that is written of him is wondrous, and higher than the boundaries of human nature, both those things which took place through him with the help of God, and those things he himself did. He was conceived through prayer, and before he was conceived the great Forerunner and Baptist John testified of him regarding his future virtue, and he foretold the perfection to his mother that her son was to receive. Having been born, he never breastfed from the left breast of his mother. By this she considered her child would be eager towards good impulse, and that he would not participate in the wicked works of the left. When he was six years old, although not of a mature age, he did not care for childish things, and was not easily led towards that which is vulgar, therefore this divinely-wise child turned away from all these earthly things of leisure, and he went to the mountain, where he immediately undertook such a harsh life and dwelling, which only by forcing himself was he able to acquire after many years a habit towards, this even by aged men. Thus through such eagerness and life, he beheld many divine and angelic appearances and visions, which taught him all that he was to do, namely to always honor that which is good and virtuous, and to flee and hate wickedness and sin.

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