June 16, 2016
New York City: Hierarchal Divine Services held in Synodal Cathedral for Feast of Lord’s Ascension

On Wednesday, June 8, the eve of the great feast of the Ascension of the Lord, Metropolitan Hilarion of Eastern America & New York led the All-Night Vigil in the Synodal Cathedral of the Sign in New York City, co-served by Bishop Nicholas of Manhattan and cathedral clergy. On Thursday, June 8, the very day of the feast, Bishop Nicholas celebrated the festal Divine Liturgy. His Grace was co-served by the cathedral’s senior priest, Archpriest Andrei Sommer, and Protodeacon Nicolas Mokhoff. Upon completion of the Liturgy, Bishop Nicholas congratulated the clergy and parishioners with the feast and addressed the faithful with a sermon.

His Grace noted how little all of the Evangelists say about the time between the Lord’s Resurrection and His Ascension. "After the Apostles lost their Divine teacher, they – suffering from their loss – scattered. And here the Savior, risen from the dead, appeared to them. And He spent all of that time between the Resurrection and Ascension with the Apostles: teaching, instructing, preaching. But why is so little said of this period in the Gospel? The Holy Fathers explain this by noting that the Apostles were enveloped by such joy, that they were simply unable to relay in words that which they experienced, their sincere joy. And this is a joy of which we do not have enough. This is a spiritual joy, a joy in the Lord. We must strive to acquire and keep this divine joy in our hearts, which cannot be described with words, but by which you know that the Lord is with you."

Bishop Nicholas reminded parishioners of the need to incarnate that joy in life: "When Christ ascended into Heaven, two angels appeared to the Apostles and said to them, ‘Go and act!’ So must we also not merely call ourselves Orthodox Christians, but must give flesh to our faith, realizing this spiritual joy in our lives – unto the salvation of our souls and the souls of our loved ones."

Media Office of the Eastern American Diocese