Augustine Sokolovski

On the fiftieth day after Easter, the Church celebrates the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. In accordance with the date of celebration, this day is called Pentecost. Depending on the date of Easter, Pentecost can be early or late. It is important to remember that it is always celebrated on the eighth Sunday after the Easter celebration. This year, Pentecost in the Orthodox Church is celebrated on June 4th.

It is extremely important to understand, that Pentecost is the culmination of Easter, and, at the same time, the completion and revelation of the Ascension Itself. If the earthly life of Jesus Christ ended with death on the Cross, it would be the greatest triumph of the forces of evil in history. If the Lord Jesus, after His Resurrection from the dead, would forever remain with the disciples, he would not be able to become accessible to the entire Universe. This, according to the Gospel of John, testified, and, at the same time, Jesus Himself warned the disciples: “I tell you the truth: it is better for you that I go; for if I do not go, the Comforter will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

But God raised His Son. The Lord Jesus ascended into Heaven and sent down the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost form a triune whole of Christian dogma. In the Creeds of the Ancient Church, they form an important part of the confession. In the liturgical life of the Church, these feast days are endowed with special solemnity.

Therefore, those who claim that the time from Ascension to Pentecost, for the disciples of the Lord, would be a time of sorrow and desolation, are very mistaken, in fact, on the verge of heresy. Such a strange analogy between the days of the saving God-forsakenness of the Week of Christ's Passion and the period between the Ascension and Pentecost is completely impossible. “He ascended in glory, Christ our God, filling the disciples with joy,” says the key hymn of the Ascension troparion. The visible, sovereign presence of the Resurrected Christ among the disciples becomes a mysterious, sacramental, all-encompassing, and permanent presence in the Church, the Universe and in the hearts of believers. The universe takes on a new heart. This heart is the Body and Blood of Christ. At the right hand of the Father in the Ascension is the human heart of God. In light of the revelation of this saving Paschal sequence, the color of liturgical vestments these days should have been white or red. "The Spirit descended upon the Apostles in the form of tongues of fire" (Acts 2:3).

In the Russian Church, Pentecost is called the day of the Holy Trinity. Based on the theology of the Holy Spirit, which is present in a special way in the texts of the divine service of the holiday, unknown to us interpreters, some amazing shift in the horizons of understanding, gradually “renamed” the Feast of Pentecost. In the likeness of a considerable number of holidays in the Western Christian tradition, the Body of Christ, Christ the King, and many others, the Day of the Descent of the Holy Spirit has become an ideological holiday in honor of the dogma. This is certainly an amazing phenomenon! Interestingly, in the Catholic Church, the feast of the Holy Trinity is the Sunday after Pentecost.

In the Old Testament, on the fiftieth day after the Celebration of the Exodus, the giving of the tablets of the law to Moses was celebrated. In the New Testament, in the Resurrection, Ascension, and Pentecost - the Church was born, Christianity appeared, the Universe gradually began to change, the World began to breathe differently. Factors and phenomena, which at first glance are exclusively secular, are often characterized by a special, theological tectonics. Literature and poetry have a prophetic content. Calling the great poets and writers prophets and theologians, theology thus emphasizes the inseparable connection of the gift of the Holy Spirit with the creative ability of the human genius in Christ. After all, the image of God, according to which, as it is said in Scripture, man was created (Gen. 1:27), this is also the ability to be creative. And even the Angels - the bureaucrats of God - are deprived of this ability. “I shall go to the grave, and on the third day rise, And, just as rafts float down a river, to me for judgment, like a caravan of barges, The centuries will come floating from the darkness” - Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), one of the greatest Russian theologians of the last century, poetically wrote about this in his poem. Pentecost is the Easter of Christ, which became the property of the Universe in the birth of the Church and the transformation of the Universe into a place of salvation for for all generations until the end of time.