ascension and pentecost
Resource compiled by the Joint Liturgical Group
of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
Prayers from the Orthodox tradition
In the New Testament all the texts speak not of Christ's ‘Ascension' but of his being ‘taken up', that is of his ‘Assumption'. This is reflected in the Orthodox texts and in the name for the feast.
You were taken up in glory, Christ our God, giving joy to your Disciples by the promise of the Holy Spirit, when through the blessing they had been assured that you are the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world.
Our nature, which of old had fallen, has been raised above the Angels and beyond understanding established on God's throne. Come, let us keep festival and let us cry out, ‘You his works, praise the Lord, and highly exalt him to all the ages!'
When you were taken up in glory, Christ our God, while your Disciples watched, the clouds received you with your flesh; the gates of heaven were lifted up; the choir of Angels rejoiced with gladness; the higher powers cried out, saying, ‘Lift up our gates, you rulers, and the King of glory will enter'. While the Disciples, amazed, were saying, ‘Good Shepherd, do not be parted from us, but send us your All-holy Spirit, to guide and strengthen our souls'.
Lord, as you completed the mystery of your dispensation, taking your Disciples with you, you took them up onto the Mount of Olives; and behold, you passed through the firmament of heaven. For me you became poor like me, and you ascended whence you had not been parted; send forth your All-holy Spirit, to enlighten our souls.
In the Orthodox tradition Pentecost is the feast of the Holy Trinity. Whit Monday is celebrated as the ‘Day of the Holy Spirit', when we resume kneeling, forbidden since Pascha by the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325.
We have seen the true light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith, as we worship the undivided Trinity, for the Trinity has saved us.
Blessed are you, Christ our God, who revealed the fishermen to be most wise by sending down to them the Holy Spirit, and so through them catching the whole world in a net: Lover of humankind, glory to you!
Heavenly King, Advocate, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere, filling all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life; come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.
When the Most High came down he confused the tongues, divided the nations; but when he parted the tongues of fire, he called all to unity, and with one voice we glorify the all-holy Spirit.
All-holy Spirit, proceeding from the Father, and through the Son dwelling in the unlettered Disciples, save and sanctify all those who acknowledge you as God.
Lord Jesus Christ our God, who, while still present with us in this life, gave your peace to humankind, and ever grant the gift of the all-holy Spirit to the faithful as an inheritance which cannot be taken away, you sent down this grace today in a more manifest form to your Disciples and Apostles and gave eloquence to their lips with tongues of fire, through which we, every race of humankind, having received the knowledge of God in our own language by the hearing of the ear, have been enlightened by the light of the Spirit, delivered from the darkness of error and, by the distribution and supernatural force of the perceptible tongues of fire, have been taught faith in you and have been illumined to speak of you as God with the Father and the holy Spirit in one Godhead, power and authority.