Ascension of the Lord
Feast of the Ascension
40 days after Easter
The Feast of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, also known as Holy Thursday, Ascension Day, or Ascension Thursday,
commemorates the Christian belief of the bodily Ascension of Jesus into heaven. It is one of the ecumenical feasts (i.e., universally celebrated) of Christian churches, ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day of Easter (following the accounts given in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, Acts 1:2 ), although some Christian denominations have moved the observance to the following Sunday.
The feast is always observed with an All-night vigil. The day before is the Apodosis (leave-taking) of Easter (i.e., the last day of the Feast of Easter). Before the Vigil, the Paschal hours are said for the last time and the Paschal greeting is exchanged.
The Paschal Greeting, also known as the Easter Acclamation, is an Easter custom among Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Christians. It is also found among some Christians from liturgical Protestant denominations, such as certain Anglicans and Lutherans. In place of "hello" or its equivalent, one is to greet another person with "Christ is Risen!" or "The Lord is Risen!", and the response is "Truly, He is Risen," "Indeed, He is Risen," or "He is Risen Indeed" (compare Matthew 27:64, Matthew 28:6–7, Mark 16:6, Luke 24:6, Luke 24:34).
In some cultures, such as in Russia and Serbia, it is also customary to exchange a triple kiss of peace on the alternating cheeks after the greeting.
Ascension has an Afterfeast of eight days. The Sunday after Ascension is the Sunday of the Holy Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council at Nicaea. This council formulated the Nicene Creed up to the words, "He (Jesus) ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead; Whose kingdom shall have no end." The Afterfeast ends on the following Friday, the Friday before Pentecost. The next day is appropriately a Saturday of the Dead (general commemoration of all faithful departed).
The Eastern Orthodox Church uses a different method of calculating the date of Easter, so the Eastern Orthodox commemoration of Ascension will usually be after the western observance (either one week, or four weeks, or five weeks later; but occasionally on the same day). The earliest possible date for the feast is May 13 (of the western calendar), and the latest possible date is June 16. Some of the Oriental Orthodox Churches, however, observe Ascension on the same date as the Western Churches.
Ascension of the Lord Prayer:
Chapel of the Ascension, Jerusalem