Pastoral Letters

Pastoral Letter June 5, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Christ is Risen!
Truly He is Risen!

This coming Thursday, the Feast of our Lord’s Ascension into the Heavens, marks the end of the Paschal Season. This Sunday will be the final opportunity for us to chant together, the clarion hymn which proclaims Jesus Christ risen from the Dead. It will be an honor and a blessing to chant “Christ is Risen” for the final time this season.

The Synaxarion, or Daily Book of Commemorations explains the Feast of the Ascension is such a beautiful and poignant way:

After His Resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for forty days, appearing to His Disciples in various places. He ate, drank and conversed with them, verifying and assuring His Resurrection. On the fortieth day after Pascha, Jesus appeared to His Disciples in Jerusalem. He gave them His last commandment, to go forth and preach in His Name to all the nations. At the same time, He told them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait until they were clothed with the power from on high by the descent of the Holy Spirit upon them. Having said this, Jesus led His Disciples to the Mount of Olives. Then He lifted up His hands and blessed them.

And as He was speaking to them with words of fatherly blessing, Jesus departed from them and ascended into Heaven, being received by a shining cloud, indicating His divine majesty. He gradually disappeared from the sight of the Disciples as they gazed at Him. And as they stood thus, two angels in brilliant white robes appeared to them in the form of men and said to them: Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? This same Jesus, Who is taken from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven.

In these words is fulfilled and defined the doctrine concerning the Son of God and His Word, in the Confession of Faith. After our Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled all His great dispensation for us, He ascended in glory into Heaven, and sat on the right hand of God the Father. His Disciples returned from Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, rejoicing in the promise of the coming of the Holy Spirit. O Christ our God, Who did ascend in glory, have mercy on us.

We are moving ever closer to Pentecost, and ultimately, later this summer, to the first celebration of our parish Feast, the Dormition, or Falling Asleep of St. Anna on July 25th. May our gracious Lord keep you safely in His tender care as you engage in all of your summer activities. God bless, and for nearly the last time, Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

With Love in our Lord Who is to Rise on the 40th Day,

Fr. Anthony