In this video recording, Archbishop Christophoros from Jordan talks about the Ascension of Christ and our daily ascension towards perfection and deification. This is a sermon recorded in June 2021 by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – Amman – Jordan.
English translation by Waad Rabahie
Video source: Greek Orthodox Archdiocese – Amman – Jordan
Our Church gave the Gospel to the whole world… This is our Church… not a church of the fifties of the last century, nor a 100 or 200 year-old church, it’s the 2000 year-old Church which was established by the Holy Spirit when He descended on the apostles. And the first bishop of this Church was Saint James, brother of the Lord, as we see in the book of Acts.
Today with His ascension He ascends our nature, restoring it to its initial place. See the depth of God’s love towards us, my children! He was incarnated for our sake, He deified our nature which in Adam was cast away from Paradise, and in Christ, today, returned to Paradise, returned to its first place. Because of sin, we were cast away (in the first Adam) from Paradise and today (in the New Adam, Jesus Christ our Lord who was incarnated and resurrected from death, the second person/hypostasis of the Holy Trinity) we ascend to heaven through His Ascension, and thus we return to the position which we have lost because of sin. Today we should give thanks to our Lord for His great love towards us. Today He brought us back to Paradise. It’s important for us to keep this heavenly identity. To always know and realize that we are citizens of the heavenly home. It’s important for a Christian to know that he is not of this age but of the Kingdom, that he has a heavenly identity, his home is Heaven, his purpose is Paradise, the compass of his heart is holiness and salvation. This is how a Christian lives here on earth. This is how he’s always able to transfer the difficulties of life that he goes through here into life, light, resurrection and eternity.
This is the power of our Christian faith in our Resurrected God (from death) Who ascended to Heaven. Ascension for us is not just an event that only occurred some thousands years ago. Ascension is an event that happens daily in our life. And in every liturgy we hear the priest saying, “Let us lift up our hearts”. It’s very important for our heart and mind to be oriented towards Heaven, to be there (in Heaven), not here on earth, where we forget and lose our identity and take off our heavenly garment, which is Holiness. It’s very important to keep our holy garment and our heavenly identity in a time where they don’t want us to be believers. They don’t want us to be true. They want us to go with the current as everyone does. No, my children! As I have said a few days ago, the Church speaks in its silence. Some people think that the Church is silent and the Church doesn’t speak. But who told you that the Church ever spoke, unless in its silence, unless in its life? The Church speaks in our Lord Who is Resurrected from death. This is the power of the Church.
My children, in these times it is very important to be close to our Orthodox Christian identity and to hold onto it and not be superficial in faith. “Because we were born Christian, so we should be Christian.” No, my children! We should deepen in our faith and realize the treasure of our Orthodoxy. And out of conviction, faith, dogma and life, we should live our Orthodoxy. This is how we become witnesses of Resurrection and become light and salt in the world. When you hear the Church, the Patriarchate, and your bishop speaking in this dimension, don’t think that your bishop is speaking in a sectarian dimension, nor he speaks to exclude the other… No, my children! We are the only ones and especially I, that feel that each Christian in our holy land is my spiritual child… Because he is the child of our Holy Church. He might have left us for many reasons, among those are our shortcomings, but still, he is our child. I have this feeling for every Christian in this land, that he is my child. And because he is my child, I speak in this way, and out of my concern for the salvation of souls…
One of the ambassadors told me “your love doesn’t reach all your children”. I answered him, “my love and the true love doesn’t have a standard only in this lifetime, because how long do we live here? 70, 80, 100, 120 years and then we will leave. But up there he will discover who loved him and who didn’t. In eternity we will discover who truly loved us here and who betrayed and deceived us and led us to hell.”