Afterfeast of the Theophany. St. Gregory of Nyssa (395). St. Dometian, bishop of Melitene (601). St. Marcian, priest, of Constantinople (5th c.). St. Paul, founder of Obnora Monastery (Vologda) (1429). St. Theophan the Recluse, bishop of Tambov (1894). St. Antipas of Calapodeshti (Romania) and Valaam Monastery (1882).
Blessed Theosebia the Deaconess, sister of Sts. Macrina, Basil the Great, Peter of Sebaste, and Gregory of Nyssa (385). St. Macarius, founder of Pisma Monastery (Kostroma) (14th c.). Monk-martyr Ephraim, elder of Obnora, and six monks of Obnora whose relics are incorrupt (1538).
New Hieromartyrs Peter Uspensky, archpriest of Radushino (Zaraisk) (1930), and Anatole (Grisyuk), metropolitan of Odessa and Cherson (1938). New Martyr Arsenia (Dobronravova), abbess of the Holy Resurrection–St. Theodore Convent (Shuisk) (1939).
St. Ammon, monk, of Nitria (5th c.).
It is certainly possible to have a letdown after the holiday season. Though it has its own stresses, a time of year filled with parties, rich food, and visiting with loved ones appeals to most people, if only as a cultural observance. The same is surely true for those of us who celebrated the Savior’s birth at Christmas and His baptism at Theophany.
There are innumerable examples of the intercession and help of the Theotokos, and every pilgrim and parishioner of the Lavra still experiences this aid. The Mother of God also appeared here in 1240 in a pillar of fire and left her footprint on a rock. She, like the burning bush, bore witnesses that this place is holy. She is the abbess here and the patroness of this land…
To cross the sea, you need a ship—you won’t cross it by swimming. In order to cross the sea of life and to reach the Kingdom of God, you must enter the ship of the Church, for only on the ship of the Church can you cross the stormy sea of life and reach the Kingdom of God. To enter the Church is possibly only through the Sacrament of Baptism.
That is a great and ineffable gift! But every gift, every right, also imposes obligations on us. And the higher the right, the higher the obligation. What is the obligation, the duty imposed on us by the Holy Baptism?
Icons of the Theophany had already appeared in the first centuries of Christianity and recorded for us not only the Savior’s Baptism at the hands of St. John the Forerunner, but most importantly His manifestation to the world as the incarnate Son of God and a Person of the Holy Trinity, about which the Father and the Holy Spirit bear witness, the latter by descending upon Christ in the form of a dove.
On the second day of the Nativity, January 8, on the eve of the evening services, about thirty men in balaclavas and masks from the radical right organization C14 (“Sich”) blocked the entrance to the territory of the Holy Dormition Kiev-Caves Lavra. Shouting political slogans and lighting fireworks, they demanded a meeting with the abbot of the Lavra, Metropolitan Paul (Lebed).
The elder, who just celebrated his 85th birthday in 2017, almost never speaks about himself, but he made an exception for the sake of the feast. This is a story about Nativity in a long and arduous, but joyful life, through which shines the 2,000-year history of this truly central event in human life…
The Pravoslavie.ru website asked Archimandrite Vasily (Pasquiet) to share his memories of the newly-departed ascetic, since he had met with Fr. Placide on many occasions, and it was under his (Fr. Placide’s) influence that he once converted from Catholicism to Orthodoxy.
Nowadays monasteries and convents are as relevant as they were in ancient times, if not more. These places are filled with the Divine grace. They are essential for people, so that driven and tossed by all kinds of winds in the turbulent sea of life, they might have such islands where they will find Divine grace and support.
Only a handful of specialists now know about a liturgical rite called “the Furnace Act” practiced in Russia from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and mentioned as early as the tenth century in Byzantium. It was a rite that was celebrated on the great feasts. With this rite also began the forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.
The two weeks between the feast of the Nativity of Christ and His Theophany have in Orthodox lands always been a time spent glorifying Christ in families and communities. With this spilling over of joy in the birth of our Savior came the tradition of walking from house to house singing carols, to bring the grace and peace of Christ’s Nativity to those around us.
The sole path to destroying sinful consequences is to destroy the sin itself. Christ the Savior, by His Nativity, by taking upon Himself our human nature, brought Divine power to Earth, with the help of which every man can and should overcome his sins, even if they are very great and heavy.
For almost two thousand years, iconographers have been painting icons and frescos of the Nativity, on which we can see the swaddled Infant in the manger, the Mother of God, Joseph, the animals at the manger, as well as the adoration of the Magi, the washing of the infant, the shepherds, and the angels.
In honor of the great feast of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, we present here a collection of Nativity encyclicals from some of our Orthodox primates from around the world, which help to expound upon the depth of meaning of the feast and to draw our hearts and minds to greater attention and devotion to the Lord and His saving will for us.