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Bible Dictionaries

The American Church Dictionary and Cycopedia

Ascension Day

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A Feast observed with great solemnity forty days after Easter in commemoration of our Lord's Ascension into Heaven. It is also called Holy Thursday. St. Augustine, A.D. 395, calls this one of the Festivals which are supposed to have been instituted by the Apostles themselves, so that it must have been generally observed in his time. In the system of the Church, Ascension Day is regarded as one of the very highest Festivals set apart in honor of our Lord. Proper Psalms, Proper Lessons and Proper Preface in the Communion service place it on the same footing as Christmas Day, Easter and Whitsun Day. The services are usually brightened with special music; the Altar is decked with flowers and white hangings as symbolical of the joy which characterizes the Celebration. Ascension Day is preceded by the ROGATION DAYS (which see), as days of preparation for its due observance; it is also one of the Days OF OBLIGATION (which see).

Ascription—The words used at the end of a sermon, beginning, "And now to God the Father," etc. During the Ascription the people stand and at the end respond, Amen.

Ash Wednesday—The first day of Lent; one of the two absolute Fast Days of the Church, the other being Good Friday. In ancient times the first day of Lent was called Caput Jejunii, i.e., "Head of the Fast," because Lent began on that day. It was also called Dies Cinerum, i.e., "Day of Ashes," from the custom of placing ashes on the head of penitents who presented themselves before the Bishop on this day. Ash Wednesday is a day of deep devotion, of prayer, fasting, self-examination and confession of sin. The public services are most solemn; the Proper Lessons, and Proper Psalms, the Collect, Epistle and Gospel, together with the Penitential Office to be especially used on this day, all mark it as a day of "weeping, fasting and praying." The Psalms appointed are the seven Penitential Psalms, viz., the 6th, 32d, and 38th, used at Morning Prayer; the 51st used in the Penitential Office, and 102d, 130th and 143d read at Evening Prayer. (See PENITENTIAL PSALMS.) The Church color for Ash Wednesday is purple or violet.


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Bibliography Information
Miller, William James. Entry for 'Ascension Day'. The American Church Dictionary and Cyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/acd/a/ascension-day.html. 1901.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019
the Fifth Week after Easter
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