Author Topic: The Ascension  (Read 1989 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Aindriú

  • Faster! Funnier!
  • Protokentarchos
  • *********
  • Posts: 3,918
    • Blog
The Ascension
« on: May 24, 2012, 09:33:00 PM »
What does the Church believe about the Ascension?

If Jesus literally rose up... why? Why would he fly up in the air like superman? Certainly, Heaven isn't above us.

I'm going to need this.

Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,503
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 09:49:28 PM »
Here's a link to the hymnography for the feast:

http://www.anastasis.org.uk/assumpti.htm

In short, Christ ascended (went up) into heaven, fully in both His natures. He did not discard His human nature or body.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline age234

  • High Elder
  • ******
  • Posts: 559
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 10:59:15 PM »
If Jesus literally rose up... why? Why would he fly up in the air like superman? Certainly, Heaven isn't above us.

No, but the cosmology of the day taught that heaven is above us. Jesus could have simply disappeared, but he ascended for the sake of human understanding. (That's how I've heard it explained, anyway.) It also underscores Christ's glorification and boldly illustrates that he is enthroned beside the Father, and that he truly is Messiah.

It's easy to ascribe a lot of symbolic meaning into things, but maybe another facet is as simple as this: Christ departed in a dramatic fashion so the Apostles would understand that this was final, that he was not going to suddenly appear again (as he did several times during Paschaltide).

Or maybe it's just another mystery...
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 11:05:07 PM by age234 »

Offline Jetavan

  • Argumentum ad australopithecum
  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 6,822
  • Tenzin and Desmond
    • The Mystical Theology
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 11:05:00 PM »
What does the Church believe about the Ascension?

If Jesus literally rose up...
I haven't read any verse that uses the word "literally".
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 11:05:15 PM by Jetavan »
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 11:07:59 PM »
In the iconography it is within a mandorla.

Only those with eyes to see would have seen such a thing.


Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,503
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 11:21:02 PM »
What does the Church believe about the Ascension?

If Jesus literally rose up...
I haven't read any verse that uses the word "literally".

Then you might wish to look at the following verses from the hymnography I linked to:

The Lord has been taken up into heaven, that He may send the Advocate to the world. The heavens have prepared His throne; clouds His ascent. Angels marvel to see a Man high above them. The Father receives Him whom He holds eternally in His bosom. The Holy Spirit orders all his Angels, ’Lift up our gates, you rulers’. All you nations, clap your hands: for Christ has gone up where He was before.

Lord, at Your Ascension, the Cherubim were amazed as they contemplated You, the God who is seated upon them, ascending on the clouds; and we glorify You, for Your mercy is kind. Glory to You!

Lord Christ, giver of life, as Your Apostles saw you borne up on clouds, filled with lamentations of tears of dejection, grieving they said, ’Master, do not make us Your servants orphans, whom through pity You have loved as You are compassionate; but, as You promised, send us your all-holy Spirit to guide our souls with light’.

Lord, as You completed the mystery of Your dispensation and took 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, You also ascended whence You had not been parted; send forth Your all-holy Spirit, to enlighten our souls.

In ascending to heaven, Lord, whence You also descended, do not leave us orphans; may Your Spirit come, bringing peace to the world; show to the children of mankind deeds of Your power, O Lord who loves mankind.

Verse: God has gone up with a shout of joy; the Lord to the sound of the trumpet.

When you came to the mount of Olives, O Christ, to fulfil the Father’s good pleasure, the Angels of heaven were amazed and those beneath the earth shuddered in fear; the Disciples stood by trembling with joy as You spoke to them; as a throne a waiting cloud had been prepared opposite them, while heaven opening its gates appeared in beauty, and the earth reveals its hidden vaults, so that Adam’s descent was made known and his ascent again. But Your footsteps were raised up, as if by a hand, while Your mouth was heard loudly giving a blessing; a cloud received You and heaven took You within. You wrought this great and marvellous work, Lord, for the salvation of our souls.

O Lord, when in Your goodness You had fulfilled the mystery hidden from ages and generations, You came with Your Disciples to the Mount of Olives, having with You her who bore You, the Maker and Creator of all things; for it was necessary that she who had suffered so greatly as a mother at Your passion, should also be filled with joy beyond measure at the glory of Your flesh. We too, sharing in the joy of Your ascent to heaven, O Master, glorify Your great mercy which has come to us.


And that's just from Vespers. Matins continues the constant theme of Christ's rising to heaven. And this, from the Synaxarion:

When the moment came for the assumption, He led them out to the Mount of Olives (so called because it was planted with many olive trees). He talked with them of the preaching to the ends of the earth and also of His perpetual kingdom that was to come, and when He saw that they were about to ask him what was fitting, His most pure Mother being present also, He brought Angels to show them his ascent to heaven. And indeed, as they watched, He was lifted up from among them and a cloud received Him. And so, escorted by the Angels, who exhorted one another to raise the doors of heaven and were amazed at scarlet of His flesh from His blood, He ascended and took His seat at the right hand of the Father, making His flesh divine and, I dare to say, making it equal to God. Through it we have been changed, now that the ancient enmity has been abolished. However, Angels appeared to the Apostles, in the form of men, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand amazed, straining your gaze to heaven? Him whom you see in flesh, God Jesus, will come like this again in flesh. But not as before, in poverty and unknown, but with great glory, as you now see Him, escorted by Angels’.

Then the Apostles, tired by gazing up, returned from the Mount of Olives, which is very near Jerusalem, about two thousand four hundred steps, for this is a Sabbath day’s journey. For so it was laid down by Moses as lawful to walk for this distance on Sabbath. Because the Tent of Witness was this number of steps distant from the Jewish camp. So it was possible for worshippers to go this far on Sabbath and not to walk further. And so it called a Sabbath day’s journey.

The icon of this feast clearly expresses the rising heavenward of Christ.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 11:30:24 PM by LBK »
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline Alveus Lacuna

  • Taxiarches
  • **********
  • Posts: 7,280
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: OCA
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2012, 11:28:08 PM »
Only those with eyes to see would have seen such a thing.

The Fr. Hopko Mandorla Hypothesis is tenuous at best, and a bit of a cop-out on difficult issues. He never qualifies the assertion with any patristic president or notes from iconographic theology.

Titles added - MK
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 02:23:53 AM by Michał Kalina »

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2012, 11:29:16 PM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 11:30:24 PM by Achronos »
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2012, 12:52:50 AM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.

Strange how it seems that every person including my Priest who I've read / speak on the issue says the same thing.

And they all ain't necessarily Fr. Thom supporters to put it charitably.


Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2012, 12:56:00 AM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.

You shouldn't LOL so quickly especially at reactionary statements, what what a lazy google will do, wikipedia:

Quote
In icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the mandorla is used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration, and the Dormition of the Theotokos.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureola

Use some lame search terms and you will find many more.

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #10 on: May 25, 2012, 12:56:57 AM »
LBK, what do you say?

Offline NicholasMyra

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,594
    • Hyperdox Herman
  • Faith: Orthodox
  • Jurisdiction: Partially-overlapping
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2012, 12:57:57 AM »
Only those with eyes to see would have seen such a thing.

The Fr.  Hopko Mandorla Hypothesis is tenuous at best, and a bit of a cop-out on difficult issues.
What issues?

Titles added - MK
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 02:24:20 AM by Michał Kalina »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2012, 01:00:55 AM »
Jesus could have simply disappeared, but he ascended for the sake of human understanding. (That's how I've heard it explained, anyway.)
Makes the most sense to me.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2012, 01:02:20 AM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.

You shouldn't LOL so quickly especially at reactionary statements, what what a lazy google will do, wikipedia:

Quote
In icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the mandorla is used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration, and the Dormition of the Theotokos.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureola

Use some lame search terms and you will find many more.


I've seen it depicted in the iconography but it would be nice to see some patristics on it.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2012, 01:06:06 AM »
What does the Church believe about the Ascension?

If Jesus literally rose up...
I haven't read any verse that uses the word "literally".

Then you might wish to look at the following verses from the hymnography I linked to:

The Lord has been taken up into heaven, that He may send the Advocate to the world. The heavens have prepared His throne; clouds His ascent. Angels marvel to see a Man high above them. The Father receives Him whom He holds eternally in His bosom. The Holy Spirit orders all his Angels, ’Lift up our gates, you rulers’. All you nations, clap your hands: for Christ has gone up where He was before.

Lord, at Your Ascension, the Cherubim were amazed as they contemplated You, the God who is seated upon them, ascending on the clouds; and we glorify You, for Your mercy is kind. Glory to You!

Lord Christ, giver of life, as Your Apostles saw you borne up on clouds, filled with lamentations of tears of dejection, grieving they said, ’Master, do not make us Your servants orphans, whom through pity You have loved as You are compassionate; but, as You promised, send us your all-holy Spirit to guide our souls with light’.

Lord, as You completed the mystery of Your dispensation and took 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, You also ascended whence You had not been parted; send forth Your all-holy Spirit, to enlighten our souls.

In ascending to heaven, Lord, whence You also descended, do not leave us orphans; may Your Spirit come, bringing peace to the world; show to the children of mankind deeds of Your power, O Lord who loves mankind.

Verse: God has gone up with a shout of joy; the Lord to the sound of the trumpet.

When you came to the mount of Olives, O Christ, to fulfil the Father’s good pleasure, the Angels of heaven were amazed and those beneath the earth shuddered in fear; the Disciples stood by trembling with joy as You spoke to them; as a throne a waiting cloud had been prepared opposite them, while heaven opening its gates appeared in beauty, and the earth reveals its hidden vaults, so that Adam’s descent was made known and his ascent again. But Your footsteps were raised up, as if by a hand, while Your mouth was heard loudly giving a blessing; a cloud received You and heaven took You within. You wrought this great and marvellous work, Lord, for the salvation of our souls.

O Lord, when in Your goodness You had fulfilled the mystery hidden from ages and generations, You came with Your Disciples to the Mount of Olives, having with You her who bore You, the Maker and Creator of all things; for it was necessary that she who had suffered so greatly as a mother at Your passion, should also be filled with joy beyond measure at the glory of Your flesh. We too, sharing in the joy of Your ascent to heaven, O Master, glorify Your great mercy which has come to us.


And that's just from Vespers. Matins continues the constant theme of Christ's rising to heaven. And this, from the Synaxarion:

When the moment came for the assumption, He led them out to the Mount of Olives (so called because it was planted with many olive trees). He talked with them of the preaching to the ends of the earth and also of His perpetual kingdom that was to come, and when He saw that they were about to ask him what was fitting, His most pure Mother being present also, He brought Angels to show them his ascent to heaven. And indeed, as they watched, He was lifted up from among them and a cloud received Him. And so, escorted by the Angels, who exhorted one another to raise the doors of heaven and were amazed at scarlet of His flesh from His blood, He ascended and took His seat at the right hand of the Father, making His flesh divine and, I dare to say, making it equal to God. Through it we have been changed, now that the ancient enmity has been abolished. However, Angels appeared to the Apostles, in the form of men, and said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand amazed, straining your gaze to heaven? Him whom you see in flesh, God Jesus, will come like this again in flesh. But not as before, in poverty and unknown, but with great glory, as you now see Him, escorted by Angels’.

Then the Apostles, tired by gazing up, returned from the Mount of Olives, which is very near Jerusalem, about two thousand four hundred steps, for this is a Sabbath day’s journey. For so it was laid down by Moses as lawful to walk for this distance on Sabbath. Because the Tent of Witness was this number of steps distant from the Jewish camp. So it was possible for worshippers to go this far on Sabbath and not to walk further. And so it called a Sabbath day’s journey.

The icon of this feast clearly expresses the rising heavenward of Christ.

And note it doesn't suggest crowds or people from afar were witnesses. Which is inline with what I suggest about the mandorla and Scripture.

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #15 on: May 25, 2012, 01:09:03 AM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.

You shouldn't LOL so quickly especially at reactionary statements, what what a lazy google will do, wikipedia:

Quote
In icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the mandorla is used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration, and the Dormition of the Theotokos.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureola

Use some lame search terms and you will find many more.


I've seen it depicted in the iconography but it would be nice to see some patristics on it.

I am sure LBK can opine more to your point, but another probably bad American Priest:

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/within-a-mandorla-2/

Offline witega

  • Is it enough now, to tell you you matter?
  • OC.net guru
  • *******
  • Posts: 1,617
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #16 on: May 25, 2012, 01:11:10 AM »
Only those with eyes to see would have seen such a thing.

The Hopko Mandorla Hypothesis is tenuous at best, and a bit of a cop-out on difficult issues.
What issues?

And what precisely is the Mandorla hypothesis?
Ariel Starling - New album

For it were better to suffer everything, rather than divide the Church of God. Even martyrdom for the sake of preventing division would not be less glorious than for refusing to worship idols. - St. Dionysius the Great

Offline orthonorm

  • BANNED for rules violations
  • Hoplitarches
  • *************
  • Posts: 17,715
  • Ad Aluminum!
  • Faith: DSM 5
  • Jurisdiction: Apostle to the Church of ASD
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2012, 01:13:11 AM »
A text I don't have but have borrowed:

http://www.amazon.com/Metamorphosis-Transfiguration-Byzantine-Theology-Iconography/dp/0881412953

Not by an "American Priest", but put out by SVS Press nonetheless. It covers in detail the development historically of the mandorla and theologically. You can probably use google books to get some decent info.

I am too tired and lazy to do so right now. But just something I thought of.

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2012, 01:47:13 AM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.

You shouldn't LOL so quickly especially at reactionary statements, what what a lazy google will do, wikipedia:

Quote
In icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the mandorla is used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration, and the Dormition of the Theotokos.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureola

Use some lame search terms and you will find many more.


I've seen it depicted in the iconography but it would be nice to see some patristics on it.

I am sure LBK can opine more to your point, but another probably bad American Priest:

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/within-a-mandorla-2/

How dare you.
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2012, 03:33:58 AM »
Oh btw does this mean the Mandorla puts the Eastern in Orthodoxy?

Also Fr. Stephen rules. I have his link in my profile (which is probably what you were poking fun at). I just saw a recent posting he made on the Secular Death: http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/a-secular-death/

Excellent stuff.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 03:39:24 AM by Achronos »
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline Asteriktos

  • Hypatos
  • *****************
  • Posts: 36,241
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2012, 04:27:02 AM »
Excellent stuff.

False advertising.

Offline LBK

  • No Reporting Allowed
  • Toumarches
  • ************
  • Posts: 13,503
  • Holy Father Patrick, pray for us!
  • Faith: Orthodox
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2012, 05:25:02 AM »
LOL Fr Hopko was the one with the Mandorla hypo? Why am I not suprised.

You shouldn't LOL so quickly especially at reactionary statements, what what a lazy google will do, wikipedia:

Quote
In icons of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the mandorla is used to depict sacred moments which transcend time and space, such as the Resurrection, Transfiguration, and the Dormition of the Theotokos.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureola

Use some lame search terms and you will find many more.


I've seen it depicted in the iconography but it would be nice to see some patristics on it.

I am sure LBK can opine more to your point, but another probably bad American Priest:

http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/within-a-mandorla-2/

The primary meaning of the iconographic mandorla is that it represents the Uncreated Light and Glory of God. Its presence around Christ makes perfect sense in icons of the Resurrection and Transfiguration (for obvious reasons), of the Ascension (proclaiming the full glorification of Christ's human nature and reiteration of His divinity, something mentioned many times in the hymnography of the feast), of Christ in Majesty (Christ enthroned in heaven, surrounded by seraphim and cherubim), and in icons of the Mother of God of the Sign (Platytera, Znamennaya), where Christ Emmanuel is shown over His mother's body, signifying most clearly the Incarnation of God as a Divine Child.

The presence of Christ in a mandorla in icons of the Dormition signify the mystical appearance of Christ, accepting the soul of His mother, to escort it to heaven. Normally, the souls of saints, represented as a babe in swaddling-clothes, in their dormition icons are taken to heaven by angels. Given the exalted status of the Mother of God, it is only fitting and proper that Christ Himself takes her soul. A "mere" angel simply won't do. And His holding her soul is also a lovely counterpoint to the iconography and hymnography of the Mother of God holding her Son.

There are images of the Mother of God surrounded by a mandorla. Here is part of a post of mine from the "Canonical Icons" thread:

The Multiplier of Wheat shows the Mother of God surrounded by a mandorla, an oval motif of rays and stars which represents the uncreated light and glory of God. This is a major error in iconography, as the Virgin, while, of course, partaking of the glory and life of God, is not divine herself. She does not generate this light. Christ alone may be depicted in this light, such as in icons of Christ in Majesty (Christ enthroned, surrounded by the bodiless hosts), the Transfiguration, the Dormition of His mother (where He is seen holding her soul in the form of a babe in swaddling clothes, surely one of the loveliest of iconographic motifs, and truly loaded with theological meaning), and in icons of the Mother of God of the Sign, where He, as Christ Emmanuel, is surrounded by a circular mandorla over His mother's body as she holds her arms raised in supplication. By contrast, a mandorla is often seen in western images (paintings and statues) of the Virgin, notably in Our Lady of Guadelupe.
Am I posting? Or is it Schroedinger's Cat?

Offline Shiny

  • Site Supporter
  • Toumarches
  • *****
  • Posts: 13,265
  • Paint It Red
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2012, 04:08:48 PM »
“There is your brother, naked, crying, and you stand there confused over the choice of an attractive floor covering.”

– St. Ambrose of Milan

Offline rakovsky

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,516
  • St. Mstislav I
    • The Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah's Resurrection and Orthodox Christianity's roots in the Holy Land
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2017, 02:17:45 AM »
Volnutt told me that according to Fr. Hopko, the Mandorla has a special meaning in Orthodoxy beyond just showing divine holiness like a halo does. I looked up about this online and came across this old thread.

Only those with eyes to see would have seen such a thing.

The Hopko Mandorla Hypothesis is tenuous at best, and a bit of a cop-out on difficult issues.

And what precisely is the Mandorla hypothesis?
Father Hopko's hypothesis appears to be that the Mandorla signifies that certain events like the Transfiguration and post-Resurrection appearances were only visible to the faithful and not to all bystanders' objective observation. So for example, he says:
Quote
In the Ascension, Jesus is put in a mandorla, because nobody hanging around the Mount of Olives would have seen Jesus go up. Jesus’ Ascension where He’s taken and hidden in the cloud is a statement of faith. It’s something that the disciples may have seen in front of them, but it’s not something that was just seen by anybody hanging around.
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/icons_and_their_placement

He also explained:
Quote
And here we can mention that in the Orthodox Church there are basically two icons—iconographic depictions—of Pascha, of the celebration of the Lord’s Pascha, the resurrection from the dead. One icon is a depiction of the women and an angel at an empty tomb. Sometimes they’ll put a glorified Christ in a mandorla over the empty tomb. But the empty tomb is literally, historically true, according to Orthodox Christians.
...
The other iconographic depiction, which is the one that is venerated and incensed and kissed and carried in procession on Pascha, shows the image of Sheol, of Hades, the realm of the dead. And in this icon you have Jesus in a mandorla, which means nobody saw this. This is invisible to human eyes, this is not anything that anyone has seen. The Apostles did not see it. Nobody saw it, but it is the truth. It is the eyes of faith that when Jesus is dead, he is destroying death. He dies in order to free those who were held captive by death. And that’s what the icon shows. It shows him in a mandorla. That means nobody could see it; it’s a theological, mystical affirmation.
http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/christ_is_risen_truly_he_is_risen#h[]

One piece of evidence in favor of this hypothesis is that Mary and the Emmaus road travelers did not initially recognize Jesus in the person they were meeting until He revealed Himself to them. Until that moment, they thought He was the gardener or just another traveler, respectively.

On one hand, Fr. Hopko is not alone in the Orthodox world in having this theory. While he did not mention the issue of Mandorla, the early 20th c. Russian theologian Lopuhin proposed a similar explanation for why the soldiers and women may have seen the angels at the tomb, but the apostles Peter and John did not. According to Lopuhin in his commentaries on the gospels, God may have chosen to reveal the angels' presence to the soldiers and the women for reasons such as the women's faith (also, the Bible says that the angels scared the guards, the angels' appearance to them thereby serving a practical purpose), whereas he says that the two apostles lacked sufficient faith.

Fr. Stephen Freeman, in his article supporting Fr. Hopko's hypothesis, points to the hymn for the Transfiguration:
You were transfigured on the mount, O Christ God,
revealing Your glory to Your disciples as far as they could bear it.
(http://fatherstephen.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/within-a-mandorla-2)

He concludes that the event in the Mandorla on the mount was only visible to the extent that the apostles could bear it, thus making it not an objectively observable event, but rather one only observable to those who could spiritually bear it.

Do you think that there is other evidence or mention in Orthodox Tradition of Fr. Hopko's hypothesis about the Mandorla's implications and meaning?


On the other hand,
in one of the gospels, it says that Peter and John believed when they saw the empty grave robes in the tomb. It's hard then to say that Peter and John didn't see the angels due to lack of faith.

Further, in the story of the Transfiguration in Mark's gospel, it says that when Jesus came down from the mount, the crowd was amazed at Him when they saw Him. It sounds as if Jesus' appearance was still affected by the Transfiguration, and thus was observable to the crowd, even if they weren't believing Christians.

Also, let me address here a point that Fr. Freeman makes, when he describes Jesus' resurrection appearances as having a "verbal mandorla" due to mention of doubt:
Quote
There are interesting descriptions that accompany the Scriptural witness of Christ’s resurrection appearances. [Such as] St. Mary Magdalen’s mistaking the resurrected Christ for “the gardener” until he speaks her name... What we have ... is a “verbal mandorla,” a description that points to a reality that impinges upon our reality but which has a depth that transcends anything we could imagine. This is the manifestation of the Kingdom of God in our midst.

...There is a form of Christian literalism which belongs to a secular culture. The world is rendered only in a secularized, objective manner. Nothing is ever set within a mandorla. There is no perception of the mystery which has come among us in our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ. In such a form of Christianity, faith is simply a description of what someone accepts as a set of “facts” in the same manner that we accept or reject what we read in a newspaper, etc. The facts are as static and empty as our perception. No change need happen in the witness of such facts. Either it happened and you saw it, or it did not happen. But the Scriptures themselves indicate that the nature of the witness has a radically different character:

    Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted (Matthew 28:16-17).

If Christ appears to them, how is it that some doubted? The Biblical witness would never have allowed such a statement if it was trying to defend the modern literalism of secularized Christianity. Instead, the witness of Christ points us towards the depth of the mystery that is the truth of our relationship with risen Christ.

Is Fr. Freeman suggesting that in Matthew 28 there were bystanders on the mount in Galilee who failed to see Jesus, and that He was only visible simultaneously to others?


The Greek text of verses 16-17 goes:
Οἱ δὲ ἕνδεκα μαθηταὶ ἐπορεύθησαν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν, εἰς τὸ ὄρος οὗ ἐτάξατο αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς.
καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν προσεκύνησαν αὐτῷ, οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν.

Although some English translations take this to mean that some of those disciples present doubted, it seemed to me when I read some Greek language scholars that the phrase in question really meant that the disciples saw Jesus, "but others doubted." This is because for example, Psalm 22:17 uses the same expression "oi de" (meaning "they"), yet it does not refer to the immediately preceding plural noun (bones):
ἐξηρίθμησα πάντα τὰ ὀστᾶ μου αὐτοὶ δὲ κατενόησαν καὶ ἐπεῖδόν με

Or in the KJV:
16. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

What do you think the best translation of the phrase "oi de" (literally, "moreover they") in its context in Matthew 28:17 is?
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 02:27:57 AM by rakovsky »
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline rakovsky

  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 10,516
  • St. Mstislav I
    • The Old Testament Prophecies of the Messiah's Resurrection and Orthodox Christianity's roots in the Holy Land
  • Faith: Christian
  • Jurisdiction: Orthodox Church in America
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2017, 10:32:19 PM »
This Russian article has something that reminds me of Hopko's theory, saying that it applies to the issues of the visibility of things for "bodily eyes" and of the divine energy:
http://pravoslavie.ru/282.html
The ocean, infinite to men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Lord. ~ I Clement 20

Offline Volnutt

  • Dull Sublunary Lover
  • Merarches
  • ***********
  • Posts: 8,599
  • Faith: Evangelical by default
  • Jurisdiction: Spiritually homeless
Re: The Ascension
« Reply #25 on: November 22, 2017, 12:45:08 AM »
What makes you think that the grave clothes would have been invisible like the risen Christ?

I tend to the think that the crowd being amazed by Jesus coming down from the Mount of Transfiguration should be taken as a parallel to Moses coming down from Mount Sinai (2 Corinthians 3:13) rather than some normative statement. Of course, the God who made even Saul and Caiaphas prophesy is capable of revealing Himself to anyone at any time, but the general Mandorla idea seems to be normative.

As for whether some or all of them doubted at Galilee, I don't really know. I will say that I'm not sure that doubt of the Resurrection need be what is being implied here. It could be some kind of moral doubt that He was really approving of the Apostles or that God was really behind the Resurrection. An analogy I've seen is the intellectual knowledge that airplanes are the safest way to travel contrasted with the courage to get on one in practice.
Quote
The breath of Thine Holy Spirit inspires artists, poets and scientists. The power of Thy supreme knowledge makes them prophets and interpreters of Thy laws, who reveal the depths of Thy creative wisdom. Their works speak unwittingly of Thee. How great art Thou in Thy creation! How great art Thou in man!
Akathist Hymn- Glory to God for All Things