Rich liturgical cycle a guide throughout the year
“O Author of all
"The seasons of fast
and abstinence from boisterous entertainment are to help the faithful
exercise more self-control and better prepare them for the sacramental
encounter with Christ in the holy eucharist and that face-to-face encounter
with Christ on the day of his second coming at the end of the world.”
The Divine Liturgy, along with many lesser liturgies celebrated throughout the year, are the main source of theology for the East. Through this rich combination of liturgies and rituals the Eastern Christian is able to participate with the Creator in sanctifying all of nature, all of life. Thus, not only does he or she actively seek divinization on a personal level, that process of divinization extends to all creation. As it brings forward in time and space the redemptive act of Jesus Christ, the Divine Liturgy is the greatest of all sanctifying events.
Sept. 8 — Nativity
of the Theotokos
Oct. 1 — Protection
of the Theotokos, beginning of month dedicated to the Theotokos
Pylypkiw or Advent —
40 days of preparation for the Nativity of our Lord, beginning on the
Feast of St. Phillip, Nov. 14
Nov. 21 — Presentation
of the Theotokos
Dec. 6 — St. Nicholas
Dec. 8 — Immaculate
Dec. 25 —
Nativity of our Lord
Jan. 1 — St. Basil
Jan. 6 — Theophany
or Jordan — in commemoration of Jesus’ baptism, water
is blessed for use by clergy and laity throughout the year.
Feb. 2 — Presentation
of Jesus in the Temple — this marks the end of the Christmas season.
Candles are blessed and taken home for use at times of crisis and celebration
March 25 — Annunciation
Great Fast — 40 days
leading to Easter.
Lazarus Saturday —
the day before Palm Sunday.
Palm or Willow Sunday —
willow branches are blessed commemorating Jesus’ entrance into
Jerusalem, as well as the return of life in spring
Holy Thursday — reading
of 12 Passion Gospels, traditionally in four languages.
Good Friday — burial
service for Christ, followed by veneration of the plaschanytsia (shroud)
bearing the image of the crucified Lord.
Holy Saturday — blessing
of paska and other food to be eaten on Easter. As well, pysanky (decorated
eggs) are blessed in an adaptation of a pagan spring ritual. The eggs
may be decorated with Christian symbols such as intertwined triangles
representing the Holy Trinity.
Pentecost Sunday (Green Holiday)
— the interior of the church is decorated with freshly cut boughs,
a sign of new life, both spiritual and natural.
June 24 — St. John
the Baptist — traditionally no red food could be eaten, nor anything
head shaped, such as cabbage, in respect for the beheaded saint.
June 29 — Sts.
Peter and Paul
August 6 — Transfiguration
— fresh flowers and herbs are blessed, to be used for healing
and beautifying our homes.
August 15 — Dormition of the Theotokos — garden vegetables and fruits are blessed, expressing gratitude for the earth’s bounty.