St. Herman Monastery – 3/5/2020
On the Ascension of Christ by St. John Chrysostom
This issue of The Orthodox Word opens with two timely articles for the edification of our readers during the current COVID-19 epidemic. The first is an interview with Bishop Panteleimon (Shatov), head of the Synodal Department of Church Philanthropy and Social Service of the Moscow Patriarchate. Bishop Panteleimon speaks about the proper Orthodox response to the pandemic, emphasizing the need to avoid extremes and to take care of one another rather than think only of oneself. The second article consists of a journal entry written by Novice Symeon (Elpidinsky) of Valaam Monastery in northwest Russia during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, just five days before his own repose from the disease. Br. Symeon describes the fleeting nature of earthly life and how one must place one’s hope in that which will live on in the next life.
These articles are followed by St. John Chrysostom’s only extant homily on the feast of our Lord’s Ascension. This homily, given in the common martyrium outside the city of Antioch, marks one of the first records of Ascension being celebrated forty days after Pascha. In it, St. John sets forth a profound exposition on our Lord Jesus Christ as the Mediator between God and man and then illuminates the place of Christ’s Ascension in the Orthodox doctrine of redemption.
The issue concludes with Part I of the Life of St. Dionysius of Glushitsa, a fifteenth-century saint of Russia’s northwest region of Vologda. This Life is another chapter of the upcoming second volume of The Northern Thebaid.
The Orthodox Word
Founded in 1965 with the blessing of St. John of San Francisco, The Orthodox Word is devoted to promoting the authentic savor of Orthodox Christianity. It is published bi-monthly, except for a combined January-April issue, by the St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood.