Sunday, December 17, 2017 UTC

DEC 30, 31, JAN 1 & 2: SATURDAY & SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS, COMMEMORATION OF DAVID, JOSEPH & JAMES; FEAST OF THE CIRCUMCISION OF OUR LORD, GOD & SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST & FEAST OF ST. BASIL THE GREAT

icon-of-the-circumcision-of-jesus DEC 30: VIGIL/DIVINE LITURGY – 4:00 PM; DEC 31: MATINS – 7:00 AM, DIVINE LITURGY – 10:30 AM; JAN 1: DIVINE LITURGY ST. BASAL THE GREAT (SN) – 11:00 AM; JAN 2: DIVINE LITURGY (SCM) – 11:00 AM.

On December 31st, the Sunday after Christmas, we also commemorate the “relatives of the Lord”, particularly Saint Joseph, husband of Mary; Holy Apostle James, the brother of the Lord, first bishop of Jerusalem; and King David, prophet and our Lord’s direct ancestor.

The Gospel reading is Matthew 2:13-23, which was also read on December 26th, the Synaxis of the Theotokos. This reading recalls The Flight of the Holy Family to Egypt. Joseph is warned in a dream to flee with the infant Jesus and his mother to Egypt in order to escape Herod’s continuing plots to destroy him. After Herod’s death, Joseph, once again in obedience to a dream and in fulfillment of prophecy, goes to reside in Nazareth of Galilee.

On January 1st each year, we commemorate The Circumcision of Our Lord, eight days after the Nativity. Jesus was circumcised and named on this day, in keeping with the Law of Moses and signifies that He is the fullness and the completion of the Old Covenant. . “When the eighth day arrived for his circumcision, the name Jesus was given the child, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.”  (Luke 2:21).  During this feast, we also recall the childhood of our Lord, the “hidden years” from his infancy until the beginning of his public ministry.

On January 1st, we also commemorates the anniversary of the death of Saint Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea. He was one of the most distinguished of the Doctors (teachers) of the Church. Chosen bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, he was a tireless preacher, champion of orthodox theology against the Arian heresy, a writer of theological works, and a monastic legislator whose “rules” of monastic life are still followed throughout the Christian East. He is credited with an Anaphora (Eucharistic prayer) which is a masterpiece of theology and devotion, recounting the entire history of salvation. This Liturgy of Saint Basil is used on the great baptismal feasts, on the Sundays of the Fast, and on this, his feast day.

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