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Sunday, December 8 / December 21, 2014

Righteous Patapios
Parthenios of Chios


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Quote From the Fathers

I shall speak first about control of the stomach, the opposite to gluttony, and about how to fast and what and how much to eat. I shall say nothing on my own account, but only what I have received from the Holy Fathers. They have not given us only a single rule for fasting or a single standard and measure for eating, because not everyone has the same strength; age, illness or delicacy of body create differences. But they have given us all a single goal: to avoid over-eating and the filling of our bellies... A clear rule for self-control handed down by the Fathers is this: stop eating while still hungry and do not continue until you are satisfied.
—St. John Cassian, On the Eight Vices.

Preceding every great Feast of the Church is a corresponding period of preparation. This preparation includes prayer and fasting. On November 15/28, the Church begins the Nativity Fast, which is broken on the Feast itself, December 25/January 7. During this Fast, we are permitted to have wine and oil every day, save Wednesdays and Fridays. On Saturdays and Sundays from the Entry of the Theotokos, Nov. 21/Dec. 4, until the Feast of St Spyridon on Dec. 12/25, we are also permitted to eat fish.

On the Feast of the Entry of the Theotokos, we begin to chant in the Matins the Katabasiai of the Nativity, “Christ is born, glorify Him”. On the Feasts of St. Andrew, Nov. 30/Dec. 13, and St. Nicholas, Dec. 6/19, we begin to chant various hymns for the Nativity. Two Sundays before the Nativity is dedicated to the Forefathers of Christ, and on the Sunday before the Nativity, we read the genealogies of Christ according to Luke during the Matins and according to Matthew during the Divine Liturgy.

From the Prefeast of the Nativity, Dec. 20/Jan. 2, until the Eve of the Nativity, the Three-ode canons (Τριώδιοι κανόνες), modeled after the Three-ode canons chanted during Great Week, are chanted during the Compline. On the Eve of the Nativity, we chant the Royal Hours and celebrate the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil the Great.

Thus, through the various pre-festal hymns of the Church, scripture readings, and comparably eased fasting, we should be sufficiently prepared to celebrate the Nativity according to the flesh of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

About the Church

The Church of the Genuine Orthodox Christians (GOC) of America is an Old Calendar Orthodox Church serving the faithful of North and South America. Having its roots in the Diocese of Astoria, founded by Metropolitan Petros (Astyfides) in 1954, it presently consists of two Metropolises (America and Toronto) and two dioceses (Portland and Boston), shepherded by five hierarchs.

The Church of the GOC of America is an autonomous Eparchy whose hierarchs are members of the Holy Synod of the Church of the GOC of Greece, under the Presidency of His Beatitude Archbishop Kallinikos of Athens and All Greece. We follow the Patristic (Julian) Calendar and resist the heresy of Ecumenism.

Orthodox Awareness

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(Psalm 145:3)

We mustn’t have absolute trust in human beings for our salvation, no matter what dignity they have. Human beings are changeable. Today they are saints, tomorrow—deniers. Today—sinners, tomorrow—righteous. We must have absolute trust in God, and in Him we must base our hopes of salvation. “Blessed is he of whom the God of Jacob is his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 145:5). Read more...

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Ask A Priest

Fasting

Q. There seems to be a lot of variation in how people observe fasting, but my confessor told me to fast from oil on Wednesday and Friday. Oil is a pretty vague category, though, and I was wondering if I could get a more explicit description of what kinds of food and drink are excluded on strict fast days. Read more...