Category Archives: Feast Days

9 November: St. Nectarios of Aegina

St. Nectarios was born on October 1, 1846, in Selymbria in Thrace to a poor family. His given name was Anastasios Cephalas. At the age of 14 he moved to Constantinople (Istanbul) to work and further his education. In 1866 he left to the island of Chios to take a teaching post. He then became a monk at the age of thirty. Continue reading

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8 November: The Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven

The angels of God have been commemorated by men from the earliest times, but this commemoration often degenerates into the divinization of angels (IV Kings 23:5; A.V. II Kings). Heretics always wove fantasies round the angels. Some of them saw the angels as gods and others, if they did not so regard them, took them to be the creators of the whole visible world. The local Council in Laodicea, that was held in the fourth century, rejected in its 35th Canon the worship of angels as gods, and established the proper veneration of them. Continue reading

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The Beheading of the Holy Prophet and Forerunner John the Baptist

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Why does the Church give such veneration to St. John the Baptist, even fixing a strict fast day in his honour? Here are ten reasons:

1. Our Lord Himself said that St. John was the greatest prophet “among those born of women” (Luke 7, 28). Some hearing these words are surprised. They ask: Surely, Christ Himself is the greatest man born of women? However, Christ was not born of a woman (i.e. a married female), he was born of a Virgin. Therefore, in obedience to our Lords words, that St. John is the greatest born of women, the Church duly honours him. In fact, there are no fewer than six feasts of St. John in the Church Year. The first is his Conception on September 23/October 6. Then comes his commemoration on January 7/20, the day after the Feast of the Baptism of Christ. The third is the Second Finding of his head on February 24/March 9. His next feast is the Third Finding of his head on May 25/June 7. The fifth is his Birth, or Nativity, on June 24/July 7, and finally today’s feast, the last in the Church Year, his Beheading on August 29/September 11. Continue reading

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How to Share in the Glory of Christ’s Resurrection: Homily for the Dormition of the Most Holy Theotokos

At the very heart of our faith as Orthodox Christians is the good news that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead. He truly died and was buried as a human being, but Hades and the grave could not contain Him as God. Because He is risen, those who die enter into His presence as they await the resurrection of the body and the Last Judgment. Those who have loved and served Him experience paradise already as a foretaste of heaven, for they are with the Lord to Whom they united themselves during their lifetimes. Our Saviour rose as a whole person with a glorified body and then ascended into heaven forty days later. That is how He has made it possible for us all to share in the eternal joy of the heavenly kingdom. Continue reading

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The Koimisis – Falling Asleep of the Theotokos

Apolitikion
The Koimisis—Falling Asleep of the Theotokos
O Mother of God, in giving birth you still preserved virginity; and in falling asleep you did not forsake the world. You are the Mother of Life and have been transferred to life, and through your prayers have delivered our souls from death.

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ON THE FEAST OF TRANSFIGURATION

Apolytikion
You were transfigured on the Mount, Christ God revealing Your glory to Your disciples, insofar as they could comprehend. Illuminate us sinners also with Your everlasting light, through the intercessions of the Theotokos. Giver of light, glory to You.

Kontakion
You were transfigured upon the mount, O Christ our God, and Your disciples, in so far as they could bear, beheld Your glory. Thus, when they see You crucified, they may understand Your voluntary passion, and proclaim to the world that You are truly the effulgence of the Father.

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THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD
Such are the marvels, truly worthy of God, celebrated in this present feast, which is an image and prefiguring of the future state of the righteous, whose splendour the Lord spoke of, saying: “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun” (Matt. 13:43). It is because of this that the Kontakion of this Feast is said daily (when there is not a great feast) in the Service of the Typica in perpetual commemoration of the glory that will be the lot of the Saints. According to tradition, the Lord’s Transfiguration came to pass forty days before His Crucifixion; this is why the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Cross.”
(taken from: http://goarch.org/chapel/saints)

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1 August: Beginning of Fast for the Falling Asleep of the Theotokos

The fast begins on 1st August and ends 15th August when Orthodox Christians celebrate the Feast of the Falling Asleep (Koimesis) of the Theotokos.

This great fast honours the Virgin Mary through whom the mystery of the incarnation took place. As our Lord’s Mother, we seek her intercession to her Son for our every need. She listens, comforts, and prays for us. This is evident by the many miracles that are performed by her; the countless number of churches that are built in her honour. During this period of fasting there is a Paraklesis service to her each evening (except for 5th August when there are Vespers for our Lord’s Transfiguration, 14th August, and Saturday evenings). Attending the Paraklesis services gives us the opportunity to honour the Theotokos and seek her aid for ourselves and others.

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