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The Eighth Day of Christmas. The Feast Day of Saint Basil the Great

To the pen of St. Basil the Great belong commentaries on Sacred Scripture, a treatise on the Holy Spirit, epistles, sermons and rules for monastic life. He did much for the establishment of the order of the Liturgy, and wrote numerous prayers. The Church reveres him as a fighter for the purity of the faith, a great hierarch and theologian, calling him a “universal teacher.” Only on two other saints – John Chrysostom and Gregory

The Sixth Day of Christmas: The Last Christmas – Ever

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 24, 2021  This Christmas was the last Christmas – ever. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Wherever He is, there is the beginning and the end of all things. If Christ is truly present in this year’s Christmas, then it is the last Christmas – and the first Christmas. And if statements like this make your hair hurt – then read on. Our common way of thinking about

The Fifth Day of Christmas: 14,000 infants (Holy Innocents) slain by Herod in Bethlehem

December 29 Reading The infant-slaying Herod mentioned here is the same one that ruled at the time of Christ’s Nativity. In those days, certain Magi, who were wise and noble men, perhaps even kings, set forth from the East, and came to Jerusalem, seeking the King of the Jews, Who had been born; and they said that in the East, where their homeland was, an unusual and strange star had appeared two years before, which,

The Fourth Day of Christmas. The Holy 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia

On December 28, the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the 20,00 Martyrs who were burned alive in the year 303 AD.  The Holy 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia At the beginning of the fourth century the emperor Maximian (284-305) gave orders to destroy Christian churches, to burn service books, and to deprive all Christians of rights and privileges of citizenship. At this time the bishop of the city of Nicomedia was Saint Cyril, who by his preaching

The Third Day of Christmas: Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen

Commemorated on December 27 The Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen was the eldest of the seven deacons, appointed by the Apostles themselves, and therefore he is called “archdeacon.” He was the first Christian martyr, and he suffered for Christ when he was about thirty. In the words of Asterias, he was “the starting point of the martyrs, the instructor of suffering for Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, since Stephen was the first to shed

The Second Day of Christmas. The Synaxis of the Theotokos

On the second day of the feast, the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated. Combining the hymns of the Nativity with those celebrating the Mother of God, the Church points to Mary as the one through whom the Incarnation was made possible. His humanity—concretely and historically—is the humanity He received from Mary. His body is, first of all, her body. His life is her life. This feast, the assembly in honor of the

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! The First Day of Christmas!

By His Grace Bishop John Abdalah As Orthodox Christians, we greet one another with this confident exclamation during the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. With this seasonal greeting we affirm that Jesus, who took on flesh and was born into our world, is indeed the Christ, and worthy of glorification. This greeting is unlike other seasonal greetings about being merry (Christmas), glad (tidings), or happy (holidays). Not that I have any trouble with

The Thirty-Ninth Day of Christmas Advent: Celebrating Christ’s Nativity

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2006 With the hyper-commercialization of Christmas in American culture, it’s important for us to step away from the noise and tinsel, in order to hear once again what Orthodox Christian tradition tells us about the real significance of this feast. This takes us back first of all to the Nativity stories of the Gospels. To interpret those stories, though, we need to turn as well to the ancient liturgical

The Thirty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent: Incarnation to Parousia

By Fr John Breck, December 2, 2009 Celebration of Christmas, the Nativity of our Lord, invites us to look in a fresh way at the intimate relation that exists between the Incarnation of Christ and his “Second Coming” in glory. Too often Nativity is taken as a feast in and of itself, a family festival so deformed by the season’s commercial pressures that two of its major emphases, cosmic and eschatological, become lost in a

The Thirty-Second Day of Christmas Advent: And Honesty for All

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 23, 2021  There are “bogus” Scriptures out there – special “revelations” to various characters (generally self-described as “prophets” and such). They have as a hallmark, a kind of self-promotion and a carefully crafted message to “solve” various religious problems. I’ll not name names lest I wind up on someone’s hit list. I’ll let the reader fill-in the blanks. However, there is something quite striking about the writings of the Bible,