there had not been many dwelling places in the house of God
the Father, our Lord would have told us that he was going
on ahead to prepare the dwelling places of the saints. He
knew, however, that many such dwelling places already prepared
were awaiting the arrival of those who love God.
he did not give this as the reason for his departure, but
rather his desire to open the way for our ascent to those
heavenly places and to prepare a safe passage for us by making
smooth the road that had previously been impassible. For
heaven was then completely inaccessible to us—human
foot had never trodden that pure and holy country of the
It was Christ who first prepared the way for our
ascent there. By offering himself to God the Father as the
firstfruits of all who are dead and buried, he gave us a
way of entry into heaven and was himself the first human
being the inhabitants of heaven ever saw.
The angels in heaven,
knowing nothing of the sacred and profound mystery of the
incarnation, were astonished at his coming and almost thrown
into confusion by an event so strange and unheard of. “Who
is this coming from Edom?” they asked; that is, from
But the Spirit did not leave the heavenly throng
ignorant of the wonderful wisdom of God the Father. Commanding
them to open the gates of heaven in honor of the King and
Master of the universe, he cried out: “Lift up your gates,
you princes, and be lifted up you everlasting doors, that
the king of glory may come in.”
And so our Lord Jesus Christ has opened up for us a new and living way,
says, “not by entering a sanctuary made with hands, but by entering heaven
to appear before God on our behalf.” For Christ has not ascended in order
to make his own appearance before God the Father. He was, is, and ever will be
in the Father and in the sight of him from whom he receives his being, for he
is his Father’s unfailing joy.
But now the Word, who had never before been clothed
in human nature, has ascended as a man to show himself in a strange and unfamiliar
fashion. And he has done this on our account and in our name, so that being like
us, though with his power
as the Son, and hearing the command, “Sit at my right hand,” as a member
of our race, he might transmit to all of us the glory of being children of God.
since he became man it is as one of us that he sits at the right hand of God
the Father, even though he is above all creation and one in substance with
Father, having truly come forth from him as God from God and Light from Light.
As man then he appeared before the Father on our behalf, to enable us whom original
sin had excluded from his presence once more to see the Father’s face. As the
Son he took his seat to enable us as sons and daughters through him to be called
children of God.
So Paul, who claims to speak for Christ, teaching that the whole
human race has a share in the events of Christ’s life, says that “God has
us up with him and enthroned us with him in heaven.”
To Christ as the Son
by nature belongs the prerogative of sitting at the Father’s side; this honor
can rightly and truly be ascribed to him alone.
Yet because his having become
man means that he sits there as one who is in all respects like ourselves, as
well as being as we believe God from God, in some mysterious way he passes this
honor on to
John’s Gospel 9: PG 74, 182-183)
Cyril of Alexandria (d.444)
succeeded his uncle Theophilus as patriarch in 412. Until
428 the pen of this brilliant theologian was employed in
exegesis and polemics against the Arians; after that date
it was devoted almost entirely to refuting the Nestorian
heresy. The teaching of Nestorius was condemned in 431 by
the Council of Ephesus at which Cyril presided, and Mary’s
tide, Mother of God, was solemnly recognized. The incarnation
is central to Cyril’s theology. Only if Christ is consubstantial
with the Father and with us can he save us, for the meeting
ground between God and ourselves is the flesh of Christ.
Through our kinship with Christ, the Word made flesh, we
become children of God, and share in the filial relation
of the Son with the Father.