Ascension of Jesus Christ

VatopaidiFriend: The Day of Ascension, is celebrated in many European countries by being a public holiday. Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland are honouring the Ascension of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

… and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father

After his resurrection from the dead Jesus appeared to men for a period of forty days after which he «was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God» (Mk 16:19; see also Lk 24:50 and Acts 1:9-11).

The ascension of Jesus Christ is the final act of his earthly mission of salvation. The Son of God comes «down from heaven» to do the work which the Father gives him to do; and having accomplished all things, he returns to the Father bearing for all eternity the wounded and glorified humanity which he has assumed (see e.g. Jn 17).

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The Prophet Elijah

ilya1 Kings 17:1; 18:17-19:21 – 2 Kings 2:1-15

After Solomon died, his kingdom was divided, and most of the men who ruled were not wise and great leaders. But there were still a few leaders who listened to the words of the Lord and told the people to do what was right. These people were called prophets. One of these prophets was Elijah, who lived while Ahab was king of Israel.

King Ahab was married to a woman named Jezebel, who worshipped the false god Baal. Ahab also turned to Baal, and even built an altar to him. This made God angrier at Ahab than he had been at any other king. Elijah went to Ahab and told him, «As truly as I serve the Lord, there will be no rain in this land until I say so.»

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Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου – The Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou

Η Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου. Εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou. External view.

Η Ιερά Μονή Εσφιγμένου. Εξωτερική άποψη. Holy Monastery of Esphigmenou. External view.

Ιδρύθηκε πριν τo τέλος το 10ου αι.. Πρωτοστάτησε στην επανάσταση της Χαλκιδικής 1821. Το Καθολικό, τιμώμενο στην Ανάληψη του Χριστού, κτίσθηκε κατά τα έτη 1810-1816 και τοιχογραφήθηκε το 1811, το 1818 και το 1841. Από τα κειμήλια της Μονής πρέπει να μνημονευθούν ο σταυρός ο λεγόμενος Πουλχερίας», η μικροψηφιδωτή εικόνα Χριστού και το υπ΄ αριθμό 14 χειρόγραφο με τις ογδόντα μικρογραφίες του. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Ascended, how ?

The Ascension of Christ. Byzantine fresco of the 10th or 11th century in Cappadocia.

The Ascension of Christ. Byzantine fresco of the 10th or 11th century at the dome of a chapel in Cappadocia. Η Ανάληψη του Χριστού. Βυζαντινή τοιχογραφία του 10ου ή 11ου αιώνα στον τρούλλο μιας εκκλησίας στην Καππαδοκία.

Now what is wrong with modern Greek theology? Although the Fathers recognize that everyone has a nous and that it needs to be healed, modern Greek theology and modern Orthodoxy do not recognize this need. If the curative treatment of the nous is not placed once more at the base of modern Orthodoxy and if its Patristic foundation is not restored, then we will suffer the consequences – doctrine cut off from its foundation will become untenable and incomprehensible; Orthodoxy will stray from its main objective and work, and consequently not be able to stand on its own.

In this case, Orthodoxy will be like a skyscraper that does not rest on a foundation, but on a cloud. If the common man sees such an image, what will he say? He will say, “That is ridiculous”. And if there are some people who believe that it is possible for a skyscraper to be supported by a cloud, won’t they be ridiculous as well? Can they possibly be anything else? In like manner, if you cut off dogma from its foundation, dogma ends up being incomprehensible in terms of its origin.

So what do the modem Greek theologians do next? They remove the experience of theosis (divinization) as the foundation for doctrine and put the Bible in its place. Of course, the prophets’, and the Apostles’ experiences of theosis are described within the pages of the Bible. It records how this person was glorified and how that person was glorified. Yes, it is true that Holy Scripture mentions that all the prophets saw the glory of God, but when there is no way to verify this experience, everyone begins to use his imagination in order to interpret what is mentioned in the Bible. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

The Early Centuries of the Greek Roman East (2)

A page of a byzantine illuminated manuscript of the 12th century, depicting the Ascension of Christ and two prophets.

A page of a byzantine illuminated manuscript of the 12th century, depicting the Ascension of Christ and two prophets. Φύλλο από βυζαντινό εικονογραφημένο χειρόγραφο του 12ου αιώνος, που απεικονίζει την Ανάληψη του Χριστού και δύο προφήτες.

Continuation from (1)

The Advancement of Architecture

The ruler as builder was one of the oldest ideals of a sovereign. Public buildings and other structures were, in principle, gifts to be used by the ruler’s subjects, but also monuments of the greatness of the ruler. Justinian strove hard to realize this ideal. The greatest buildings he erected or rebuilt were in Constantinople, the city which was now the embodiment of the civilization of the Eastern Roman Empire. Numerous magnificent and artistically beautiful structures were constructed or rebuilt during his reign. They included statues, churches and various other monuments. His crowning achievement was the building of St. Sophia, the Church of Holy Wisdom. This building was considered by many an architectural wonder of the middle ages, and is still standing strong today. Its design, size, artwork, name and its significance made it a building that symbolized the religious and philosophical epicenter of Constantinople and Byzantine civilization.

Even before he came to power, during his uncle’s reign, Justinian had already set about to rehabilitate and rebuild many churches in Constantinople and its suburbs. This work began mostly in a private capacity and reflected the piety which was to show itself further when Justinian became emperor. The chief church in this category was St. Accius, a Cappadocian soldier who had been executed at Byzantium in the early 300’s and was venerated as one of the leading martyrs who had suffered on the site of the future Constantinople. Six other churches were similarly rebuilt. One was St. Mocius. This was one of the most famous shrines in Constantinople. It was said to have been originally a temple of Zeus, which Constantine then converted into a church. Other churches included St. Plato, martyred at Ancyra, and St. Thyrsus, executed in Nicomedia in the same persecution. In the suburbs of Constantinople he rebuilt a church of the famous woman martyr, St. Thecla, who suffered in the first Christian century. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Sacrament of Chrismation

The Pentecost. Painting by Jean Restout (1732).

The Pentecost. Painting by Jean Restout (1732).

From earliest times the church has practised chrismation immediately following baptism. In the sacrament of chrismation (Gr. chrismatis, «anointing») the newly baptised person receives the Holy Spirit through the anointing with oil by the bishop or priest. The roots of this sacrament are clear in both the Old and New Testaments, and are especially brought to light on the Day of Pentecost. Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »