Eleventh Day of Christmas Advent: The Faith of the Three Young Men

The story of the three young men in Babylon is especially loved in Orthodox liturgy. Not only is there the celebration of these Hebrew youths together with Daniel eight days before the feast of the Nativity, but their story is remembered and hymned on the two Sundays before Christmas which are dedicated to the memory of all the righteous of the Old Covenant who prepared the coming of Christ. In addition, the story of 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

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

First Day of Christmas Advent: The Winter Pascha

The Christmas-Epiphany season in the Orthodox Church begins with a forty-day fasting period….When winter begins to make its way into the northern hemisphere, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate  the feast of Christ’s Nativity…called [Winter] Pascha. This emphasizes its close connection with the mystery of our salvation and deliverance from sin and death; the mystery which the holy Church proclaims in her dogmatic teachings and with which she brings us into direct spiritual contact


          We all find great joy in the coming of Christmas and, strangely, many exhibit even greater joy with the coming of the secular new year.  Increasingly more and more the meaning of Christmas is becoming similarly secularized which is one very good reason for us to abandon that name and speak of it as the Nativity of Jesus Christ.  We are also forgetful of the fact that the period of the Nativity is one

Christmas Advent: The Thirty-Sixth Day

CHRISTMAS DAY IS THE FEAST OF THE INCARNATION, the celebration of God with us. That which we have longed for has entered our human experience. In Christmas services, we hear the pronouncement of the angel: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Families and churches often represent the Incarnation

Christmas Advent: The Thirty-Fourth Day

THE CRECHE CHRISTMAS EVE is the beginning of the feast of the Nativity, the celebration of God with us. All of the waiting and preparation of Advent leads us to this night. On the evening before the celebration of Christ’s birth, the church gathers for a vigil. Images of darkness and light suffuse our worship during the Christmas Eve liturgy: we are entering into the dark night of our Savior’s birth, when Light will come

Most Holy Theotokos, Save Us!

Orthodox Christians begin and end the liturgical year with celebrations dedicated to the Virgin Mary, whom we venerate as the Theotokos or “bearer of God.” On September 8, the end of the first week of the new year, we commemorate her Nativity or birth; on August 15, we close the year with the feast of her Dormition, her “falling asleep” and translation to heaven. As the hymns of these and other Marian feasts make clear,