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The Eighth Day of Christmas. The Circumcision of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia

On the eighth day after His Nativity, our Lord Jesus Christ was circumcised in accordance with the Old Testament Law. All male infants underwent circumcision as a sign of God’s Covenant with the holy Forefather Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 17:10-14, Lev. 12:3). After this ritual the Divine Infant was given the name Jesus, as the Archangel Gabriel declared on the day of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos (Luke 1:31-33, 2:21). The Fathers

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

The Fifth Day of Christmas: Light Shines in the Darkness (Feast Day of the Holy Innocents)

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, made the light of knowledge dawn on the world. For through it those who worshipped the stars were taught by a star to worship You, the Sun of righteousness, and to know You, the Dawn from on high. O Lord, glory to You! (Apolytikion of the Nativity) THE SEASON OF CHRISTMAS is a feast of light and joy, since we celebrate the coming of “the true Light which gives

The Thirty-Eighth Day of Christmas Advent. What Shall We Offer You, O Christ?

The Church’s liturgy of the winter festal season speaks not only of the hospitality which the Son of God comes to give to His people. It tells also of the hospitality which He hopes to receive from them when He comes. The songs and hymns of the services call the faithful to welcome God’s Son, to accept Him, to greet Him, to go forth to meet Him. The most wise Lord comes to be born,

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 Thirtieth Day of Christmas Advent. Accepting the Lord’s invitation.

By Fr. Steven Kostoff Within the Orthodox Church, the Sunday between December 11-17 is called, simply enough, the “Second Sunday Before the Nativity of the Lord,” and more specifically, the “Sunday of the Forefathers.”  This liturgical preparation for the Feast of our Lord’s Nativity—something of a build-up—is a conscious echo of the lengthy time of preparation, determined by God and embodied in the history of Israel, before the sending of His only-begotten Son into the

The Sixth Day of Christmas Advent. Christ Is Born, Glorify Him! (Part II)

By Saint Gregory Nazianzen, the Theologian Clap your hands together, all people. For unto us a Son is born, unto us a Child is given, and the government shall be upon His shoulders. . . . Let John the Baptist cry aloud: Prepare ye the way of the Lord! And I too will cry aloud about the power of this Day. He who is without flesh has become incarnate. The Son of God becomes the

The Fifth Day of Christmas Advent. Christ Is Born, Glorify Him! (Part I)

The feast of the Entrance of Mary into the temple marks the first specific liturgical announcement of the birth of Christ. On this festival, for the first time in the season the canon of the Nativity of Christ is sung at the festal vigil.1   Christ is born; glorify Him! Christ comes from heaven; go to meet Him! Christ is on earth; be exalted! Sing to the Lord, all the earth! And praise Him in

The Third Day of Christmas Advent. Fasting for Christmas

By Fr. Stephen Freeman, November 19, 2020 [This past Sunday], November 15, the Orthodox Church began its “Winter Lent,” the fast that prepares for the feast of the Nativity. Somewhat similar to Advent, it is the older practice, a full 40-day fast, that reminds us that Christmas, joy that it is, is a foretaste of Pascha. The Cave of Bethlehem reminds us of the Cave of Hades (icons of the Descent into Hell picture the

Prophecies Fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ

By Fr. Stavros Akrotirianakis, December 30, 2018 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the Child, to destroy Him.” And he rose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed to Egypt, and remained there