This holy day is celebrated on the fortieth day after the
Resurrection of Christ, on the Thursday of the sixth week of Pascha. The
ascension of Christ into heaven is mentioned in the prophecies of the
Scriptures. Christ Himself, upon His resurrection, said to Mary Magdalene:
"I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God" (John ).
This great event, with which Jesus' life on earth
concludes, is briefly mentioned in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. But in the
Acts of the apostles there is a fuller account.
Gathering His disciples, Jesus commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to await what had been promised
by the Father, that is the descent of the Holy Spirit. "John truly
baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many
days hence . . . Ye shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you;
and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:5, 8)..
.Saying this, He went with His disciples
to Bethany and stopped on the Mount of Olives.
"While they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their
sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold,
two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, 'Ye
men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who
is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen
Him go into Heaven'" (Acts 1:9-11).
Then the disciples returned to Jerusalem to where the Theotokos and the myrrh-bearing women were in
prayer. In the Gospel of Mark it is written that upon ascending to heaven, the
Lord sat upon the right side of God the Father, that is, the human soul and
body of Jesus Christ took on the same glory as His Divinity.
Ascending to heaven, Jesus Christ promised to
always be invisibly on earth among those who believe in Him.