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The Eighth Day of Christmas. The Circumcision of Christ: At the Name of Jesus. Feast of our Holy Father Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Happy New Year!

By Stephen Freeman, January 1, 2018  On the eighth day after His birth, the eternal Son of God, in accordance with the Law, would have been circumcised and given His name. The name He received was quite common. It is the same Hebrew name as “Joshua.” It means, “God saves.” No other name is spoken as often with such tenderness and devotion. The name itself has become a prayer. We are told that “whoever calls

The Seventh Day of Christmas. The Holy Name.

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, January 3, 2017  In 1913, a small Russian fleet landed a contingent of soldiers who forcibly removed a group of Russian monks from Mount Athos. This action came at the end of a stormy controversy surrounding the name of God. The monks were known as the Imyaslavsy (“Name worshippers”) and were following ideas that had been promulgated in a text published in 1907. That work, On the Caucasus Mountains, written by the staretz, Schemamonk

The Sixth Day of Christmas. Is There Room in Your Inn?

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis And she gave birth to her first born Son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke2:7 In the Mexican culture there is a Christmas-time tradition called Las Posadas. In this tradition, a couple dressed up as Mary and Joseph go from home to home, asking if there is any room at “the inn.” Each home takes on the role of an

The Fifth Day of Christmas. 14,000 Infants (the Holy Innocents) slain by Herod at Bethlehem

14,000 Holy Infants were killed by King Herod in Bethlehem. When the time came for the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Birth of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Magi in the East beheld a new star in the heavens, foretelling the Nativity of the King of the Jews. They journeyed immediately to Jerusalem to worship the Child, and the star showed them the way. Having worshipped the divine Infant, they did not

The Fourth Day of Christmas. Family Challenge: The 12 Days of Christmas.

The 12 Days of Christmas refer to the period of December 25 – January 5. It is a primarily a festal time, spanning from Christmas Day until the Eve of Epiphany (or Theophany), which is the only day where fasting is observed.  The most important thing is to not let a day go by without marveling at the transformative gift we received in Christ’s Nativity. Are you ready to take the Challenge? Baptized in Christ:

The Third Day of Christmas. Feast of the Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen.

After the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, the fire-bearing words of the Apostles and the signs and wonders that accompanied them inspired many conversions.  As soon as the believers had become members of the Body of Christ through holy Baptism, they sold all their goods and laid the proceeds at the Apostles’ feed; then, being free of all worldly ties and interests, they led a life in common, and were of one

Christmas Eve, the Fortieth Day of Christmas Advent. Making Sense of a Jumbled World.

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, December 27, 2014 Listening to the Nativity collection of readings for the Vespers of Christmas Eve (there were eight of them), my mind drifted to the “jumbled mess” that is the Old Testament. We speak of it as if it were a single thing, when, it is many things (over 40), and some of those things are jumbled concatenations of other jumbled things. I can only imagine what someone coming to

The Thirty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent. I Have No Gift to Bring! Wait. There is Exactly ONE Gift I CAN Bring!

Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis Then opening their treasures, they offered Him gifts – ­gold, frankincense and myrrh. -Matthew 2: 11 As we run around purchasing, wrapping, and delivering gifts for other people this Christmas, we must ask ourselves seriously and soberly, “What gift am I offering to Him this Christmas?” As we are now in the home stretch heading towards the Feast of the Nativity as we count down now the hours until we are at the manger,

The Thirty-Seventh Day of Christmas Advent. Christ’s Family—Our Family

Melissa K. Tsongranis The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.  Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth…  First verses from the gospel reading for the Sunday before the Nativity (Matthew 1:1-25) For a long time, in

The Thirty-Second day of Christmas Advent. Giving and Receiving.

Melissa K. Tsongranis They shall not appear before the Lord empty handed; every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessings of the Lord your God which he has given you. – Deuteronomy 16:16-17 We are an indulgent society. If we want something, we get it.  We love receiving gifts—gifts for birthdays, gifts for holidays, gifts for jobs well done, and even gifts for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes, we even indulge by