Archpriest Alexander Men

During his earthly life, Christ the Savior loved to go off alone into the hills, where the heavens seemed closer, and where one could look out at wide panoramas of the earth. In the desert, when He was tempted by the devil and rejected all of his temptations, He stood atop a mountain so high that it seemed that he could see all of the kingdoms of the earth. On another mountain, He prayed, and His face shone, and his garments became white and glistering. This was His Transfiguration. He often spent the night with His disciples on the Mount of Olives, which was near Jerusalem. There, on the threshold of His Passion, the Lord spoke to His disciples about what would happen to the earth, to people, and what would happen to Jerusalem.

And so, after appearing to His disciples, it was up that beloved Mount of Olives that he climbed with them. We do not know whether it was morning or evening, but from that summit He could see spread out before him hills, plains, and the city lying at their feet. The city of Jerusalem, in which lived righteous people and sinners, prophets and murderers, kings and priests. The Lord stood perhaps in the same spot where he had foretold the future of the world. It was from there that, sending out his disciples, He said, “as my Father hath sent me into this world, even so send I you.“ And they stood there timidly, joyous, unsure of themselves, not knowing what was to come. One of them asked, “Perhaps Thou O Lord will now erect the Kingdom for Jerusalem?“ They did not know where they were being sent, or why, but later they were illumined by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God showed them the way and gave them the power of the Word. 

In lifting His hand to bless them, the Lord also blessed everyone they would later teach, and all of their descendants, thousands and millions of people. “All power is given unto Me” — He said, — “in heaven and on earth.” Before, He had been subject to our human laws, and needed food and water, sleep and rest, but now He had conquered all, had even conquered death. After His Resurrection, He said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and on earth.” Now everything would flow toward Him; the whole world would gradually come to be subject to the Risen Lord, not in one hour, not in one day, not in one century, but after a long time, everything would be subject to the Lord Jesus.

While He was blessing them, a cloud separated Him from them. Even now, that cloud remains. We do not see Christ with our earthly eyes, but He remains here on earth. He is on earth and in Heaven. He is both God and Man. He is in eternity, but He is also with us in our short life. We can touch Him, and can hear His voice, because the Lord is with us. 

This is why the Church sings these words of the [Ascension] troparion: “Thou didst ascend in glory, O Christ our God, having gladdened Thy disciples....” One would think, what kind of gladness is it when they are parting with Him, when He will no longer appear to them in visible form? Yet, that gladness was there, for He has remained with them unto the ages, has remained with everyone who loves Him, for He is their Savior, who came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. The joy of being with the Lord is forever. That is the meaning of the Ascension. Now he is not in Jerusalem, or Bethlehem, or Nazareth, or standing atop a mountain, in a plain, at the seashore, or in a city. Rather, He is everywhere. He sits at the right hand of the Father. He is wherever God is — everywhere. Thus at any place on earth, at any time of day or night, we can always call Him, and He will be right next to us. He will be our Lord, He will hear us, for He is with us unto the end of the age.


Archpriest Alexander Men

Address of our Cathedral

  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




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