A day set aside for giving thanks to God
By Abbot Tryphon, November 28, 2019
Thanksgiving has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when during the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving. The word Thanksgiving has its roots in the Greek word, eucharistia, where the Church gets the word Eucharist. For we Orthodox Christians the ultimate giving of thanks to God comes when we offer the Eucharistic sacrifice, and enter into the Heavenly Banquet, and participate in the eternal Mystical Supper that is ongoing in the heavenly realm.
During the celebration of the Divine Liturgy we offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for His mercy and loving kindness. It has become common practice in some areas for parishes and monasteries to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on the morning of Thanksgiving, having become a local American Orthodox custom to remember, with thanks, all that the Lord has given to His people.
The Heavenly Banquet, that eternal celebration taking place before the Throne of God is ours, here and now, whenever we participate in the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. This Eucharistic celebration (Thanksgiving) where Christ offers His Body and Blood for our spiritual and physical healing, is that moment in time when we are able to experience, and participate in, the Banquet that awaits us. The hope of eternal life is worthy of our struggle in this life, as we prepare for our life worshiping before the Holy Trinity. We Orthodox have much to be thankful for.
With love in Christ,
~Abbot Tryphon, The Morning Offering, https://blogs.ancientfaith.com/morningoffering/2019/11/thanksgiving-6/.
Catherine the Great Martyr of Alexandria
Saint Catherine, who was from Alexandria, was the daughter of Constas (or Cestus). She was an exceedingly beautiful maiden, most chaste, and illustrious in wealth, lineage, and learning.
By her steadfast understanding, she utterly vanquished the passionate and unbridled soul of Maximinus, the tyrant of Alexandria; and by her eloquence, she stopped the mouths of the so-called philosophers who had been gathered to dispute with her. She was crowned with the crown of martyrdom in the year 305.
Her holy relics were taken by Angels to the holy mountain of Sinai, where they were discovered many years later; the famous monastery of Saint Catherine was originally dedicated to the Holy Transfiguration of the Lord and the Burning Bush, but later was dedicated to Saint Catherine. According to the ancient usage, Saints Catherine and Mercurius were celebrated on the 24th of this month, whereas the holy Hieromartyrs Clement of Rome and Peter of Alexandria were celebrated on the 25th.
The dates of the feasts of these Saints were interchanged at the request of the Church and Monastery of Mount Sinai, so that the festival of Saint Catherine, their patron, might be celebrated more festively together with the Apodosis of the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos. The Slavic Churches, however, commemorate these Saints on their original dates.
Apolytikion of Great Martyr Catherine
Plagal of the First Tone
Let us praise the most auspicious bride of Christ, the divine Katherine, protectress of Sinai, our aid and our help. For, she brilliantly silenced the eloquence of the impious by the sword of the spirit, and now, crowned as a martyr, she asks great mercy for all.
Kontakion of Great Martyr Catherine
O friends of martyrs, now divinely raise up a renewed chorus, praising the all-wise Katherine. For, she proclaimed Christ in the arena, trampled on the serpent, and spat upon the knowledge of the orators.
~Website of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America (GOA), https://www.goarch.org/chapel/saints?contentid=307.