Ascension of the Lord: A Valediction That Forbids Mourning

Today, forty days after the Easter, the Orthodox Church celebrates the Ascension of the Lord.

As promised, the Lord walked with his disciples on earth for forty days after his Resurrection. He reinforced their faith and bolstered their hope in the coming Kingdom of Heaven. Forty days later, the Lord climbed the Mount of Olives with his disciples, blessed them, and ascended into the Heaven. Then two Angels wearing white robes appeared to tell them, *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 1:11). The Apostles worshipped Him and *returned to Jerusalem with great joy* (Luke 24:52). The Lord’s human nature was gloriously taken up into the heaven; thanks to his death on the Cross, Jesus Christ opened the way into the Kingdom of God for every person who believes in Him!

Today, like on the first day of Easter, special Easter chants can be heard in Orthodox churches worldwide. The Easter greeting “Christ Is Risen! Indeed He Is Risen!” is exclaimed during the Divine Liturgy for the last time this year.