Watchfulness is like Jacob's Ladder: God is at the top while the angels climb it. It rids us of everything bad, cuts out loose chatter, abuse, backbiting, and all other evil practices of this kind. Yet in doing this, not for an instant does it lose its own sweetness.
—St. Hesychios the Priest, On Watchfulness and Holiness.
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.
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 (Etna and 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.
At the beginning of September (n.s.) Bartholomew called together a “Synaxis of the Patriarchates and the Autocephalous Church of Cyprus" at the Phanar in order to coordinate their efforts for the First Ecumenistic Council which they plan to convene shortly. At it, they will most certainly have to deal with a conflict with the Patriarchate of Moscow concerning primacy, but also they will proclaim the heresy of Ecumenism with an alleged synodal decision of Ecumenical (or rather Ecumenistic) force. Read more...
Jonesboro is a town located near the Eastern border of Arkansas, with a population of approximately 60,000. From a human standpoint, it’s not the most likely candidate for a traditional Orthodox mission, but for an Orthodox Christian who orders his priorities around Christ and His Church, it makes perfect sense. Read more...