Ascension Day

A major Christian festival commemorating Christ's ascension into heaven. The festival has been observed 40 days (i.e. the fifth Thursday) after Easter in both the Eastern and Western churches since the 4th century. Ascension Day celebrates the kingship of Christ, Christ's entry into heaven with human nature glorified, and the completion of the work of the salvation of believers in Christ (through the final redemptive act of the Ascension).

Quick Facts

Go Historic ID
16101
Names
Ascension Day
Feast of the Ascension
Hemelvaartsdag Dutch
analepsis Greek (transliterated)
episozomene Greek (transliterated)
Día de la Ascención Spanish

More Definitions

Refers to a major Christian festival commemorating Christ's ascension into heaven. The festival has been observed 40 days (i.e. the fifth Thursday) after Easter in both the Eastern and Western churches since the 4th century. Ascension Day celebrates the kingship of Christ, Christ's entry into heaven with human nature glorified, and the completion of the work of the salvation of believers in Christ (through the final redemptive act of the Ascension). In the Middle Ages the festival included a procession to remember Christ's journey to the Mount of Olives, the traditional site of the Ascension. Another early practice was to raise a crucifix or a statue of the risen Christ through an opening in the church roof; this was sometimes accompanied by a figure of the devil made to descend at the same time. A distinctive feature of the Western liturgy of Ascension Day is the extinguishing of the Paschal candle after the Gospel has been read. The Paschal candle, which is first lit on Easter, is extinguished as a symbol of Christ's leaving the earth.

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Bibliography

  1. 1.  The Getty Art & Architecture Thesaurus, 300069640. The J. Paul Getty Trust.