The Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ
St. Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia (379).
Martyr Basil of Ancyra (ca. 362) St. Emilia, mother of Sts. Macrina, Basil the Great, Naucratius, Peter of Sebaste, and Gregory of Nyssa (4th c.). St. Athanasius, bishop of Mogilev and Polotsk (1801).
New Monk- martyr Jeremiah (Leonov) of Valaam (1918). New Hieromartyrs Platon (Kulbush), bishop of Revel, Estonia, and archpriests Michael Bleive and Nicholas Bezhanitsky (1919), and Alexander (Trapitsyn), archbishop of Samara (1938).
St. Eugendus, abbot of Condat in the Jura Mountains (510). St. Fanchea of Killeany (Ireland) (ca. 520). St. Fulgentius, bishop of Ruspe in North Africa (533). St. Theodosius of Tryglia, abbot. St. Gregory, bishop of Nazianzus, father of St. Gregory the Theologian (374). St. Clarus, abbot of St. Marcellus Monastery in Vienne (Gaul) (ca. 660). New Martyr Peter of Tripolis in the Peloponnese, at Temisi in Asia Minor (1776).
Repose of Sergius A. Nilus, spiritual writer (1929), Nun Faina of Starobelsk (1972), and Archimandrite Mitrophan (Manuiloff) (1986).
New Year’s Day. The Circumcision of the
Lord. Saint Basil the Great. [Col. 2:8–12; Luke
Since New Year’s Day is the beginning of the days of
the year, we ought to gather in our soul those thoughts,
feelings and dispositions that would direct our affairs
throughout the year in a Christian way. We will find this
the moment we bring to mind what New Year’s Day is
in the spiritual life. In the spiritual life, New
Year’s Day is when one who has been living
carelessly becomes zealous about salvation and pleasing
God. When one makes this resolution, then all is rebuilt
afresh both internally and externally, upon new
beginnings—the old passes away and all is new. If
you have this, renew it; if not, acquire it—and for
you this will be New Year’s Day.
A worthy celebration of the feast of the Circumcision of
the Lord and of the commemoration of Saint Basil the Great
are also tied with this. The essence of this change we
have mentioned is that a person begins from this moment on
to live solely for God, for his salvation; whereas
previously he lived exclusively for himself, preparing
destruction for himself. Now he abandons former habits,
all comforts and all in which he found pleasure; he cuts
off passions and lustful dispositions and takes on works
of strict self-denial. Such a change precisely represents
what, according to the Apostle, the circumcision of the
heart should be. The celebration of the circumcision of
the Lord reminds us of this and obligates us to do it,
while St. Basil the Great provides us with an example to
follow. So all the themes which crowd our consciousness on
New Year’s Day come together into one—our
inner renewal through the circumcision of the heart. If it
pleases the Lord to give someone this mindset on New
Year’s Day—that is, not only to think in such
a way, but also to bring all of this into his
life—he will celebrate New Year’s Day in a
most perfect Christian manner, and will prepare for a
Christian passing of the whole year. On the following New
Year’s Day he will only have to renew and enliven
what he has now taken on.