You were born, our God, in a manner of Your own choosing. You appeared and suffered in the flesh as You willed. Through Your resurrection You conquered death and ascended into glory, fulfilling all things; You sent down the divine Spirit upon us, therefore in songs we praise Your divinity. ~ St. Romanos the Melodist
And now we, who before were considered unfit to dwell even upon the earth are being raised up to heaven, ascending with Christ to the heavenly kingdom. ~ St. John Chrysostom
Let us climb the Mount of Olives today in our hearts, and joyfully raise our minds on high beholding the Lord ascending into the heavens… Glory to Thine Ascension, O most greatly merciful One!
…And on the third day He arose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into the Heavens, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father...~ The Creed
Today is the fulfillment of Pascha, and the joyful revelation of our destiny in Christ. On the fortieth day after His glorious Resurrection, our Lord Jesus Christascended into heaven to be glorified on the right hand of God ~ Acts 1:9-11; Mark 16:19
… and lifting his hands he blessed them. While blessing them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy. ~ Luke 24:51-52
Traditional Ascension Greeting: “Christ has Ascended!“
The Feast Day of Christ’s Ascensioncomes forty days after Pascha. Todayfrom the Mount of Olives, the risen Lord ascends to Paradise upon a Divine Cloud! He ascends in the Flesh, to the place where He Was before Time.
Some Ascension Customs
Of course, if at all possible, the most important thing to do on the Ascension, is to attend Divine Liturgy!
As with any Great Feast, those who have to work on this day try to give some of their earnings to the poor.
Cloud-watching today is popular, as Christ went up in a cloud. If the weather is good, some go for a mountain hike, as Jesus went up the Mount of Olives for the Ascension. Throw a blanket on the grass or scrub, lay back, enjoy the clouds (search for a Lamb-shape), and have a picnic. If there are white wildflowers available to pick and you’re not too far from home, pick a few and bring them home to your icon corner. If you live where there are olive trees, a few branches are also collected for the icon bouquet.
Last year on the Ascension, there wererainbow clouds in our area, and a super large one was shaped like the Greek letter Omega!
Clergy traditionally wear white vestments today. Some lay people also wear white on the Ascension – because of the clouds, and decorate their icon corner with white flowers.
It’s also a custom to take a dip in the ocean on the Ascension, as the sea draws its water from the clouds.
On the Ascension, farmers share the milk with friends, neighbours and relatives. Remaining milk is used to make the traditional rice pudding.
Here’s something sweet and new… Some families make “Cloud Cookies” for the Ascension. Bake a flat sugar cookie, and after cooling, decorate the top with blue icing for the sky, and then pop a few white mini marshmallows on top, as clouds.
An old English country custom was to collect rainwater if it rained on the Ascension, and drink it. I tried this once. However, as I live in the city, rainwater from the overhead clouds tasted a bit odd… so I shared the remainder with my thirsty garden!
Traditional response for the Ascension greeting is, “From Earth to Heaven!”
Christ has Ascended! From earth to heaven with glory! Happy Ascension Day!
Thou wast taken up on a cloud of light and saved the world… ~ Troparia Ode 7, Ascension
…And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. ~ Acts 1:10-11
Dazzling rainbow-coloured clouds appeared in the sunny sky today- keeping with the situation. There were pinks, golds, and greens. One of the clouds seemed to resemble the Greek letter “Omega.”
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. ~ Revelation 1:8
Thank you Irena for sharing the pictures.
Thou hast ascended in glory, O Christ our God,
and gladdened Thy disciples with the promise of the Holy Spirit;
and they were assured by the blessing that Thou art the Son of God and Redeemer of the world.
When Thou hadst fulfilled Thy dispensation for our sakes, uniting things on earth with the Heavens,
Thou didst ascend in glory, O Christ our God,
departing not hence but remaining inseparable from us, and crying until them that love Thee:
I am with you and no one can be against you.