On the 40th day after His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven in His resurrected body. As the eleven Apostles stood on the Mountof Olives at Bethany, they watched Him disappear from view. An angel declared that He would return in the same way He had left them. This glorious event is the culmination of Christ's humanity, as the Incarnate Son went to reign physically at the Father's right hand.
Eastern iconography depicts the Virgin Mary at the center of the scene, despite her absence in the New Testament accounts. Iconography is not merely a depiction of an event; it also reveals the event's spiritual reality. Eastern theology considers the Ascension to be a metaphor for the mystical nature of the Church. As a key part of the Church, she is present in the scene. Saint Paul is present for the same reason.
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