On May 17 of this year the Orthodox Church celebrated great feast of the Ascension of the Lord. St. George parish had a nice celebration on this day. Our Rector, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy. Our parish was visited by a ROCOR cleric, Abbot Eutychius (Dovganyuk) who prayed during the Liturgy in the sanctuary.
After the Gospel lesson the Rector preached a homily in Russian. He pointed out that at His glorious Ascension into heaven our Lord ascended both with His divine and human nature. Thus it is a spiritual comfort for us to be aware that our human nature had been also ascended with Jesus and thus the Lord prepared there a place for us.
Fr. Igor also addressed the question why Jesus gave His Disciples some time after His Ascension, before He sent the Holy Spirit upon them. He did not sent the Spirit right away because the Lord wished the Apostles to prepare, to become aware of that and to be certain about their life decision to follow Christ. God never wants to force us to follow Him. Therefore, the Apostles had to be free to decide. They also had to be patient awaiting the Holy Spirit and to stay together in prayer.
At the conclusion of his homily the Rector called the faithful to pray the Lord and His Blessed Mother (who was present at the event of the Ascension along with Holy Apostles) to strengthen our spiritual efforts to acquire the divine grace leading to heaven and to make us patient in our earthly journey towards heavenly goal.
After the Liturgy dismissal the Rector and the altar server performed the rite of Glorification in front of the festal icon singing the troparion, kontakion and magnification of the feast.
Following the service the Rector preached a short sermon in English to stress the main thoughts of his Russian homily and congratulated the parishioners on the occasion of the great feast.