Among the two-hundredth orthodox holidays that take place, the Ascension of the Lord takes a special place. They mark the moment when the earthly ministry of the Savior gives way to His invisible residing in the Heavenly Church. Since ancient times, this important event is celebrated annually on Thursday, forty days after Easter.
The days of Jesus after the resurrection
From the text of the New Testament it follows that, correcting death and becoming a partaker of Eternal Life, Jesus Christ was in the flesh for the last forty days, to be found to everyone after the general resurrection. Suffice it to recall how He, being tangible, passed through the closed door or became invisible to others. It was a body similar to what the Lord once gave to our forefather Adam, and whom he lost, transgressing the divine commandment. It did not know corruption, suffering and death.
Apostles before the Grace of God
The main intention of the Lord in the days of His presence among the disciples was to prepare them for the descent of the Holy Spirit, without which the birth of the Holy Church - the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven - was impossible. With His descent of the apostles, there was a profuse outpouring of the Grace of God on them, giving soul and bodily strength for the pastoral ministry and preaching of Christ's teaching among the numerous nations that drowned in paganism.
At the end of forty days, Jesus Christ ascended with his disciples to the Mount of Olives in Bethany and, having taught them a blessing, began to ascend to heaven. His figure with his arms raised slowly melted in the air, until it was hidden by a cloud. And then the Holy Scripture tells us that some men, dressed in snow-white clothes, appeared to the astonished apostles and announced the imminent second coming of the Lord. The same ones, filled with joy and reverence, hurried to Jerusalem, where they had to be in the expectation of the Holy Spirit promised to them, according to the Teacher's words.
Glorification of Jesus Christ
The ascension of the Lord in its meaning goes far beyond the events described above. In accordance with the many instructions of the New Testament, it is primarily an act of glorification of the risen Savior and a testament to His exalted position in the Kingdom of Heaven. The congregation of Christ with God the Father is treated as the unconditional evidence of His victory. In addition, ascension was an indispensable condition for the further adoration of all believers who believed in the truth of the new doctrine.
The Feast of the Ascension was established in the early years of Christianity, but until the fourth century it was celebrated on the same day as St. Pentecost. This has preserved a large number of evidences of pilgrims who have visited the Holy Land. Only since the beginning of the fifth century the Ascension of the Lord received an independent status and was firmly established in Western Europe. There is an accurate description of how this holiday was celebrated in Byzantium, where the entire liturgical cycle was performed for ten days.
In Russia, this event has been celebrated since the time when the light of Orthodoxy shone over it. It was in honor of his uncreated beams that the tradition was established: the clergy to serve on that day in white vestments. Over time, the order of service was established. Wednesday on the eve of the main celebration is the pre-holiday, and the next eight days - forfeit.
Memory, immortalized in temple architecture
In memory of this new Testament events across Russia from time immemorial was built and consecrated many temples. There are those that was among the capital. Among them is the Church of the ascension on a Pea field. He is the same age as the first king of the Romanov dynasty ― Mikhail Fedorovich. Such an unusual name the temple located here is obliged when state-owned pea field.
They say that it was crossed by two paths that turned once into the streets. One of them was called Voznesenskaya (now Radio), and the other was Gorokhovaya (Kazakova). Here at the intersection of these paths and streets was built in 1733 by the owner of these lands, Count GI Golovkin, a wooden house church. The permission for its construction was received personally from the Empress Anna Ioannovna.
Fires and new construction
However, she stood long, and four years later was burned. On its ashes was soon erected a stone Church, which eventually became a house Church known nobleman at the court of the Russian Princess Elizabeth, the count A. G. Razumovsky. But this time the fire destroyed the building. Had to start all over again, but thanks to the finances of the count and orders of the Holy Synod of the Church of the ascension on a Pea field was restored in the shortest possible time.
Cathedral among palaces
By the end of the XVIII century the whole temple area has changed beyond recognition. It was completely built with luxury estates of the Russian aristocracy. Contemporaries testify that nowhere in Moscow there was such a concentration of palaces, as in this area. Chapel of the count received the status of a parish and opened its doors to all comers.
From that time until the revolution, the Ascension Cathedral of the Lord was repeatedly rebuilt and served as a place where many generations of Muscovites prayed for the salvation of their souls and the gift of the Kingdom of God to them. After the Bolsheviks came to power, he shared the fate of many Russian churches and churches. The parish was abolished, and the building itself was used for household needs. Only in 1992 the church became the property of the Church again. To give it an original look, it took serious restoration work.
Another place where the memory of the event that took place on the fortieth day after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ was immortalized in the capital is the Church of the Ascension of the Lord on Nikitskaya, more precisely Bolshaya Nikitskaya. It is really big, as it stretches from the Kremlin to the Garden Ring. This temple is also called "Small Ascension". The wooden church, with which his story began, was built in 1584 on the occasion of the accession of the young tsar Fedor Ioannovich to the Russian throne.
In those days, the place where it was laid belonged to the settlement, in which mainly Novgorodians and Ustyuzhans settled here at the behest of Ivan the Terrible settled. As it happened in most cases, the church repeatedly burned and recovered. Not spared her fires and after in 1634 she became stone.
Throughout the following centuries, the church was rebuilt many times, its modern appearance acquired completely different outlines. In the years of God-fighting, it was, of course, closed and re-opened its doors to parishioners only in 1992 after reconstruction works. Telling about the temple, called "Small Ascension", it would be an omission not to mention another - "The Great Ascension". It was built in the XIX century near the Nikitsky Gate.
Monument to the terrible king
Continuing the story, let us recall the Church of the Ascension of Our Lord in Kolomenskoye. In view of the special architectural and artistic value, this building of the 16th century is recognized as a world-class masterpiece and taken under the protection of UNESCO. Characteristically, it was the first, built in an innovative for that time tent style. Of great interest is the historical event itself, which served as an occasion for its construction.
The fact is that the church was laid between 1530 and 1532, in connection with the birth of the heir to the throne - the future Tsar Ivan the Terrible, who was born on August 25, 1530. This is an indisputable fact, the only disagreement of the researchers raises only a private question: was it built as a gratitude for an event that had already taken place, or only in connection with the prayers of Prince Vasily III and his wife Helen Glinsky about giving them fertility? There is, however, a version according to which the church was built in memory of the victory over Khan Islam-Girey in 1528.
The name of the architect lost in the ages
Their opponents, in turn, consider the architecture of the temple is a continuation of the traditions of Russian wooden Church architecture. This Church was intended exclusively for members of the Royal family, and this was reflected in some peculiarities of its construction, in particular in a relatively small volume of the interior.
Memory of the great event
The Ascension of the Lord was also immortalized in the numerous temple altars consecrated in his honor. Almost all large cities of Russia, with the blessing of the local diocesan authorities, chapels in honor of this event were created in churches and cathedrals. Every year, at the end of the Easter celebrations, they held patronal festive divine services. In all the other temples of Orthodox Russia, among the holy images, the icon "Ascension of the Lord" was certainly present.