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Joachim & Anna

The holy and righteous Joachim and Anna are the parents of the Theotokos, the grandparents of Jesus Christ. Their feast day is celebrated on September 9, following the Nativity of the Theotokos; the dormition of St. Anna is commemorated on July 25. St. Joachim was of the tribe of Judah, and a descendant of King David. St. Anna was the daughter of Matthan the priest, of the tribe of Levi as was Aaron the High

The Sixth Day of Christmas: Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh

The adoration of Jesus by the wise men from the East is part of the Nativity celebration in the Orthodox Church.l Whatever the actual historical circumstances of the event—and Orthodox tradition takes them quite literally—the spiritual and theological significance of the coming of the kings with their gifts of paramount importance. We have already seen how the Church emphasizes the fact that the entire order of nature participates in the announcement of Christ’s birth, thus

CHRIST IS BORN!

Celebrating Christ’s Nativity, by Father John Breck As much as any other Christian feast, the significance of Christ’s Nativity comes to expression by means of paradoxical affirmations that speak of the ineffable mystery of the Incarnation by juxtaposing apparent contradictions. The most obvious of these is found in the prologue of St John’s Gospel, which declares that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). As the context makes clear that Word or

Fortieth Day of Christmas Advent. For so has God Loved the World (Part II)

But the road from Bethlehem to Zion is long, and is leading us through Gethsemane and Golgotha. Already in Bethlehem the newborn Godchild is presented with funeral offerings by the Wise Men from the East. “Today God leads the Wise Men to worship through the star, prefiguring His three-day burial in gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” The very doors of the Bethlehem cavern are nearly stained with the innocent blood of the children who were killed

Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent. For so has God Loved the World (Part I)

By Father Georges Florovsky That we begin our reckoning of time with Christ’s birth is a fact which has long been but a mere convention for many. Seldom does one recall and recognize the great event from which we count time. So do we betray our ignorance and insensitivity. In ancient days, time was computed from the Incarnation of God the Word. It signifies that we live in a world which has been renewed and

The Thirty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. What to Give to the One Who Made Everything?

By Fr. John Parker So here is a twist on the usual question:  what do you get for that someone who *made* everything?  I confess to you, dear reader, that the question comes a bit crassly off my fingertips.  But the truth is, here we are, at the inauguration of the Christmas feast—which continues through December 31 in Orthodox Christianity—and while we are hauling bags of wrapping paper and boxes to the curb (not the

The Thirty-Second Day of Christmas Advent. The Tree of Life Blossoms.

In the hymns for the prefeast of Christ’s Nativity, Jesus’ birth heralds a return to paradise. The Messiah is born and the gates of Eden are opened. The Savior comes and the tree of life blossoms. Paradise is not a place on the map. It is a condition of spirit. When a person knows God and lives in communion with Him, this is paradise. When a person does not know God and lives in communion

The Beheading of St. John the Baptist

The Beheading of St. John the Baptist The whole life of St. John the Forerunner, from its first days, was entirely dedicated to the One Who came after him. In the days of infant massacres in Bethlehem, he was also sought by Herod, and his mother Elizabeth fled with him into the desert, where she died on the fortieth day. About the same time, his father Zacharias was killed by the servants of Herod, in

Fifth Thursday of Pascha. Saints Constantine & Helen, Equal-to-the-Apostles

This great and renowned sovereign of the Christians was the son of Constantius Chlorus (the ruler of the westernmost parts of the Roman empire), and of the blessed Helen. He was born in 272, in (according to some authorities) Naissus of Dardania, a city on the Hellespont. In 306, when his father died, he was proclaimed successor to his throne. In 312, on learning that Maxentius and Maximinus had joined forces against him, he marched

Figures of the Nativity—The Magi

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 13, 2018 Today we continue on our study of the “Figures of the Nativity” by speaking about the Magi, the last people to take part in the story. We are not told how many “Magi” came to worship Jesus. We have settled on three, since three distinct gifts were offered. We know that the Magi came from far away and followed a star for two years before finding the Christ-child