June 6, 2022

What Does It Mean That Christ Ascended and Sat at the Right Hand of the Father? (Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol)

By Metropolitan Athanasios of Limassol
On the Fortieth day after the Resurrection the Lord physically left the world and went up to and ascended to heaven and sat at the right hand of the Father. Of course, this is not a place. That is, He does not have a chair next to the Father and sat down, nor is heaven a geographical space.
It is a place where God is located and these things are said so that we can understand that Christ left and took human nature with Him and was taken up as the God-man, not as God. As God He was always with His Father and was not separated for a moment. And when He was on earth and when He was in Hades He was with God His Father. That He took with Him human nature is exactly the result of all the previous events - the Cross, the Tomb, the Passion and the Resurrection. The human nature of Christ was ascended and with it the whole deified human nature was ascended.
Therefore this event of the Ascension, of our deification, is an event that now concerns all mankind. It is the glory of the human body. It is what reveals how much God has honored humanity.

The theory that in the Church and in her teaching the human body is despised and only constantly speaks of spiritual life and virtues, is not correct.
On the contrary, the Church and Orthodoxy are the ones who speak first and foremost about the deification of the human body. Nowhere else do we even theoretically have a deification of the human body, such as we have the deification of the human body in Orthodox theology.
This is what the Ascension of Christ means. None of what Christ did was for Himself. The Ascension of Christ does not mean that Christ simply returned "to His house" after His presence on earth.

This is not the reason for the Ascension.
The reason for it is precisely to show us what is our path and where do we end up, where Christ has raised us.
Remember how before He suffered that night in Gethsemane, when He prayed to His Father, He prayed for us. Then He said: "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me." That is, Christ asked His Father, that in all ages, in His endless kingdom, where He is, there we may be.

And where is Christ? In the glory of God the Father, He is equal to His Father. And to Him belongs this nature, while it is given to us by grace. Thus we know that since Christ is at the right hand of the Father, therefore we too are at the right hand of God the Father, seeing and participating in this glory and deification of our human nature.
Source: Περιοδικό Παράκληση, Αρ. Τεύχους 89, Έκδοσις Ιεράς Μητροπόλεως Λεμεσού. Translated by John Sanidopoulos.