Forty days after Easter everyone still greet each at church with the words, Christ is Risen. And it is for a good reason: the greeting means that Christ is among us. Forty days after the Resurrection, the resurrected God appeared several times to his disciples at numerous places – on the road to Emmaus, on St Thomas’ Sunday, when the doubting apostle was finally convinced that Jesus is alive, by the Sea of Galilee… The time with the resurrected Christ is the time of celebration, the time of defeating death, the best time of all. On the fortieth day, before the eyes of his disciples, his Mother and the people of Jerusalem, floating on a cloud and followed by the angels, Jesus ascended to Heaven. By ascending in His body, he also ascended our human nature (himself being man and God), thus providing us with a chance for a true life – a life without death, but with God in the future Heavenly Kingdom. Although the Ascension Day contains a dimension of sadness for the departing God, the truth is that His Ascension, His departure, was a prerequisite for the Third Aspect of the Trinity to appear – The Holy Ghost. While still living on Earth, the Lord promised all those who loved Him to send a Comforter – the Holy Ghost, who would in a mysterious way make Christ to be present even after His departure, but for this to happen, another ten days had to pass.
The Ascension Day in Serbs is called the Spasovdan, as in His Ascension, Christ performed the act of deliverance of the humanity and of the created things. Deliverance from death, servitude to nature, from all sins and evils. The only Saviour is our Lord Jesus Christ.
RELIGION AND TRADITION
The Ascension Day, Spasovdan, is a moveable holiday related to Easter. It is not on the same date every year, but it is always forty days after Easter, on Thursday. The Ascension Day is one of the so-called Ecumenical Feasts (the Twelve Great Feasts). The Ascension Day is also the day of the City of Belgrade (slava). Many a Serbian monastery is dedicated to the Ascension, the Holy Saviour: the monasteries of Žiča, Dečani, Ravanica etc.
The Patriarchy of Pec Monastery in Metohija is famous for its frescoes of Ascension. Ascension is often represented in the domes of the Orthodox Christian churches.
According to a legend, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in Jerusalem, there is a stone believed to be the one from which Jesus ascended to Heaven.