Home | About Us | The Shepherd | About Our Faith | Theotokos | Good Samaritan | Lazarus and the Rich Man | 5 Loaves & 2 Fish | Paracletos Monastery | Soldier Saints | Fools for Christ | Designated Saints | Monastics | Holy Friday | Theophany | Annunciation | Ascension | Pentecost | Transfiguration | Dormition | The Holy Protection of the Theotokos | The Holy Land | The Holy Land - Jerusalem | The Holy Land - Bethlehem, Beit Sahour & Jericho | The Holy Land - Nazareth & Northern Israel | The Holy Land - Gallery | St. John the Almsgiver of Alexandria | Holy Week around the World 2008 - 2016 | St. George | St. Basil | St. Stephen | St. Nektarios of Aegina | St. Ephraim of Nea Makri | Saints of January | Saints of February | Saints of March | Saints of April | Saints of May | Saints of June | Saints of July | Saints of August | Saints of September | Saints of October | Saints of November | Saints of December | Orthodox Churches around the World | First Ecumenical Council | Hope or No Hope | Articles on the Faith | Videos | Outreach Activities | Activites | Store - Donation | Ribs & Lobster Sale | Great American Ribs & Shrimp Jamboree | Karyes Lakonias | The Gallery | Anderson Greek Festival | Links

The Shepherd's Guild

The Ascension of Our Lord

ascension1.jpg
Icon by Dingman Iconography Gallery

Introduction

The Feast of the Ascension of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ is celebrated each year on the fortieth day after the Great and Holy Feast of Pascha (Easter). Since the date of Pascha changes each year, the date of the Feast of the Ascension changes. The Feast is always celebrated on a Thursday.

The Feast itself commemorates when, on the fortieth day after His Resurrection, Jesus led His disciples to the Mount of Olives, and after blessing them and asking them to wait for the fulfillment of the promise of the Holy Spirit, He ascended into heaven.

Biblical Story

The story of the Ascension of our Lord, celebrated as one of the Twelve Great Feasts of the Church, is found in the book of the Acts of the Apostles 1:3-11. It is also mentioned in the Gospels of Mark (16:19) and Luke (24:50-53). The moment of the Ascension is told in one sentence: "He was lifted up before their eyes in a cloud which took Him from their sight" (Acts 1:9).

Christ made His last appearance on earth, forty days after His Resurrection from the dead. The Acts of the Apostles states that the disciples were in Jerusalem. Jesus appeared before them and commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the "Promise of the Father". He stated, "You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now" (Acts 1:5).

After Jesus gave these instructions, He led the disciples to the Mount of Olives. Here, He commissioned them to be His witnesses "in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). It is also at this time that the disciples were directed by Christ to "go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19). Jesus also told them that He would be with them always, "even to the end of the world" (Matthew 28:20).

As the disciples watched, Jesus lifted up His hands, blessed them, and then was taken up out of their sight (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9). Two angels appeared to them and asked them why they were gazing into heaven. Then one of the angels said, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him going into heaven" (Acts 1:11).

Source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America