02 June 2022
Dear sisters and brothers,

I wholeheartedly congratulate you on one of the Great Feasts, the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ!

The gospel event that we remember today is directly related to the salvation of all humankind, and to each of us.

With His Resurrection, the Last Adam, the Saviour, triumphed over death, and with His Ascension, he re-opened the path to Heaven for humankind deprived of Paradise.

The Ascension of the Lord is a feast of joyous farewell. Christ leaves His Disciples to labour on Earth, and He Himself ascends to the Father's Home.

This separation is not for sorrow though, as since then the Saviour has been with us everywhere and at all times. He takes into His arms everyone who turns to Him in faith.

Saint Nikolai of Zhicha (of Serbian Orthodox Church) wrote that Christ had ascended like “an eagle that clears the way for its eaglets.” But progress along this way is possible only through a single Church, not subject to schisms and heresies.

The Son of God pointed to our highest destiny and value. He opened to us the prospect of entering into the eternal joy of life with Him.

Whether to follow the indicated pathway or stop halfway – now this depends only on us, on our faith and determination.

This feast is filled with special symbolism today, in the days of the most difficult times and trials for Ukraine and for the Orthodox Church. The Lord tests our faith for strength: to what extent we follow His Testaments, how strong our Church is, to what extent the true faith is ready to resist the challenges and temptations of new heresies, schisms and political gains. In other words, to what extent the spiritual, the celestial part in us is ready to resist the earthly and momentary part.

Once again, I heartily congratulate you on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, dear friends!

Let us be happy and rejoice on this day, for God is with us!
 
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