top of page
Image by Greg Rosenke


The Holy Feast of Ascension

        On this day, we joyously commemorate the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord into Heaven, following forty days spent with His disciples. The Ascension of the Lord pertains to His bodily ascent. Although His divinity permeates all, being omnipresent, it does not ascend or descend. Thus, in the Liturgy of Saint Gregory, we proclaim, “And You ascended into the heavens in the body…” This Ascension attests to the fact that His Glorified Body transcends earthly gravitational laws, further affirming His Divinity. He ascended visibly before His disciples, bolstering their faith, and demonstrating that the Lord not only resurrected by His Divine power but also visibly ascended into Heaven.


        Even with His ascension to Heaven, He did not forsake His Church on Earth. Before His Ascension, He assured the Apostles, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The Lord Jesus Christ continued His presence within the Church, not solely in material form but also spiritually. He appeared to Saint Paul the Apostle on multiple occasions and to Saint John the Disciple on the Island of Patmos, delivering messages to the Seven Churches.


         Through His Ascension, He is seated at the right hand of His Father, fulfilling the prophecy declared in Saint Mark's Gospel: “So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). This position at God's right hand was promised in the Old Testament, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool’” (Psalm 110:1). This moment was witnessed by Saint Stephen the Archdeacon during his martyrdom (Acts 7:56), and Saint Paul the Apostle referenced it in his epistle to the Hebrews (1:20; 8:1; 12:2). His ascension and enthronement at the right hand of the Father signify the culmination of His earthly humility, as stated in “made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7).

        The phrase “at the right hand of the Father” symbolizes the power and sanctity of the Father. God, being infinite, does not possess a literal right or left side like finite beings. Instead, 'right' denotes power and holiness (Psalm 118:16). Hence, sitting at the Father's right hand signifies the end of Christ's earthly humility and His return to the majestic form He relinquished during His Incarnation. The term “sat” implies permanence, indicating that He will not revert to a state of humility. Accordingly, in His second coming, He will return in power and great glory (Matthew 25:31).

         Furthermore, the Lord Christ's ascension to Heaven prompts us to direct our gaze heavenward, where He resides and where He was before His Incarnation. The term “to Heaven” implies the utmost high, and thus our sights are lifted heavenward during prayer, as are the church towers, symbolically reaching towards Heaven.

        The Lord’s ascension also assures our future ascension, not presently, but when He returns in His second coming, and “we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17), when He “will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body” (Philippians 3:21). However, this does not mean, as some may believe, that we currently reside in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.

Wishing you a joyful Feast, Amen!

Source: “The Holy Feast of Ascension” by H.H. Pope Shenouda III.

bottom of page