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.
On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, the Feast of the Meeting of the Vladimir Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever Virgin Mary, the Moscow Sretensky Monastery celebrated its patronal feast and fifteenth anniversary since the monastery officially began its existence as a podvorye of the Pksov-Caves Monastery.
Being born exactly half a year before Christ, John the Forerunner by the exact time of his birth depicted his mission of preparing the way for the Lord. He was born at the time of the year (June 24) when the day begins to grow shorter after the summer solstice, whereas the Nativity of Christ occurs (December 25) when the day begins to grow longer after the winter solstice. These facts are an embodiment of the words spoken later, by the Forerunner, after the beginning of Christ's preaching: He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
This brilliant defense of traditional Orthodox ecclesiology by the Holy New-Martyr Archbishop Hilarion — who received a martyr's crown on December 15th, 1929 —, does not seem to be well known, probably owing to its limited publication decades ago by a small monastery press in Canada.