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On 2 of June this year 2011, our Bulgarian Orthodox Church has marked one more bright feast (one of the 12 chief (God’s) feasts).
The Spiritual Joy is great as our Saviour has Ascended to Heaven 40 days after his Glorious Resurrection in front of the amazed desciples, and crowd of people who were with them.
An Angel has also told the people testifing our Lord’s ascension that the Second Coming of our saviour will take place in the same manner as his Ascension.
Here is some passages from the Gospel of Luke 24:50-53
50 Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.
51 hile he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
52 And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
53 and were continually in the temple blessing God.
It’s a tradition in some Orthodox Churches that the Paschal Greeting (Christ is Risen / Hristos Voskrese / Hristos Anesti etc.) is substituted with the greeting:
Christ has ascended by the person greeting, while the respondant confirms answering with Truly he has ascended
This Ascension greeting is not that deeply routed among Christians as the Pashcal greeting, though it’s very truthful and beautiful, to use it instead of the standard daily Hi greeting 😉
The whole following week after Ascension’s feast has been arranged by the Church to be a feast week commemorating our Lord Christ’s glorious Ascension (in his glorified body) to Heaven and sit in the right hand of God.
There is a local village hear in Bulgaria near a village called Spasovo – Saviour’s which has a Church called The Ascension of Christ
In this small village there is a spring which does start flowing only on the date of the Ascension (celebrated on a different date every single year)!!!
That’s amazing God miracle given to strengthen our faith as a confirmation that the Ascension of God’s Son and our saviour Christ is a real event that happened!
There is a false belief seriously accepted in many non-devoted Orthodox Christians who does not know well the Orthodox Christian faith, that on the date of The Ascension the so called Spasov Den (in Bulgarian) – Day of the Saviour , the dead who are in heaven and hell are allowed to get out of Heaven or Hell (for a temporary break) and be a bit closer to the living.
Many people who believe this insanity instead of visiting a Church and being joyful for the Ascension of Our saviour do go to the city graves and spends few hours, crying or remembering the dead …
This kind of believe is firmly non-orthodox and is taken from ancient paganism beliefs.
With all this said I find it important to say few words on why the Lord Jesus Christ has ascended?
The answer to this question gives Christ himself, as he says in the Gospel of John – Chapter 16
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
Here is a part of the Troparion for Ascension that is being sing in the Church:
When You fulfilled the dispensation for our sake,
and united earth to heaven:
You have Ascended in Glory, oh Christ our God
not being parted from those who love You,
but remaining with them and crying:
I am with you, and no one will be against you!
Christ has Ascended to all Orthodox Christians!