A new liturgical year begins today, a new year of grace

“The beginning of the New Ecclesiastical Year urges us to sanctify the time of our earthly life as a time of salvation.”
– Patriarch Daniel

September 1st is known as the first day of the New Liturgical Year for those who follow the Byzantine Church. It’s an observance we had since the 4th century. Here is Father David Petras’ brief explanation:

We call this the “Church” New Year, but it was, of course, the civil New Year of the Byzantine Emperor. The book, Mapping Time, by E. G. Richards, says, “In AD 312 Constantine had instituted a 15-year cycle of indications (censuses of people’s ability to pay taxes). These started on 1 September …. The Byzantine year started on 1 September and this system was used by the supreme tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire until it was abolished by Napoleon in 1806.” The ancient Roman Empire began the year on January 1, and therefore September was the seventh month (from the Latin word for seven, “septem”). Of course, it is now the ninth month (!) Because of the interpolation of July (for Julius Caesar) and August (for August Caesar). Many seriously advocate making September 1 the New Year again, because, after all, this is the beginning of the school year and fall programs. It would also enable people to get home on dry roads rather than on snow and ice.

In any case, the gospel today has the blessing of our Lord on the New Year, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18-19).

Blessings for a New Church Year, which we start today in our Greek Catholic Church!

Christian fasting???

We are asked to observe several fasts in the course of the year. Some do it; others do not. Some know why the Church encourages us to fast; many have no clue as to why we fast and the spiritual and physical benefits to fasting.

Join our friend, Abouna Moses to learn the “why” behind the fast!

Know about icons

Being that today is the feast day of the apostle and evangelist, St. Luke, who is the patron saint of iconographers and artists, we ought to lift up in prayer all of the iconographers who have given the talent to serve the Lord with beautiful sacred art. This art is not wall decoration; icons are windows opening into the arena of the Divine. I am thinking in particular of Marek Czarnecki of Meriden, CT, who is a terrific, trained and prayerful iconographer.

Here is a beautiful, insightful presentation on holy icons given by his Eminence Metropolitan Kallistos (Ware). He recently reposed in the Lord. The presentation was recorded in 2007 for a meeting of the Orientale Lumine Conference.

Happy New Year 7531

September 1 is the New Year for the Greek Church; the Latin begin their new liturgical year on the first Sunday of Advent. Today, is also designated the Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment –an observance of many of the mainline Christians. More on this day of prayer in another post.

The point for today is to place our trust and dependance on the Lord of Life. As Christians we deeply realize that we don’t make ourselves, that someone greater than ourselves sustains and directs our being in faith, hope, love and reason. That’s God made us, we are His, and we live in relation to Him.

Together with the Church we pray:

“Maker of the universe, O Lord who alone have power over seasons and times: bless this year with your bounty, preserve our country in safety and keep your people in peace, through the prayers of the Mother of God save us.” (Troparion)

and

O Creator and Master of time and eternity, super substantial od of all, O Merciful One: bless the course of this year, and in your boundless mercy, save all those who worship You our one and on Master and who cry out to You in fear: “O Savior, grant a happy year to all mankind.” (Kondakion)

Archpriest David Petras offers this perspective for today:

We call this the “Church” New Year, but it was, of course, the civil New Year of the Byzanrine Emperor. The book, “Mapping Time, “ by E. G. Richards, says, “In AD 312 Constantine had instituted a 15-year cycle of indications (censuses of people’s ability to pay taxes). These started on 1 September …. The Byzantine year started on 1 September and this system was used by the supreme tribunal of the Holy Roman Empire until it was abolished by Napoleon in 1806.” The ancient Roman Empire began the year on January 1, and therefore September was the seventh month (from the Latin word for seven, “septem”). Of course, it is now the ninth month (!) Because of the interpolation of July (for Julius Caesar) and August (for August Caesar). Many seriously advocate making September 1 the New Year again, because, after all, this is the beginning of the school year and fall programs. It would also enable people to get home on dry roads rather than on snow and ice. In any case, the gospel today has the blessing of our Lord on the New Year, ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)”

Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment

Today is the Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment, a day we praise God for His creation.

In 1989, the Ecumenical Patriarch Demetrius instituted a Day of Prayer for the Protection of the Environment, establishing it on September 1. Pope Francis has extended that remembrance to the Catholic Church.

In 2016, the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew said, “Following for many years the catastrophic world developments in environmental matters, the Holy and Great Mother Church of Christ, on its own initiative set the start of every ecclesiastical year as a day dedicated to Creation, to the environment, calling during this day upon the whole Orthodox and Christian world to raise a prayer and supplication to the Creator of all, to give thanks for the great gift of Creation, make supplications for the protection and safeguarding from every visible and invisible attack by man. Therefore also this year during the aforementioned day, from the Ecumenical Patriarchy we recall the need to make EVERYONE aware of the ecological problems faced by our planet.”

The environmental issue has become a polarizing political issue, but since the leaders of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and all the nations of the world have called for measures to protect the environment, all faithful should pray, at least, that we act to protect clean air and water, so as not “to make America stink again.” Pope Francis wrote, “These include the awareness that each creature reflects something of God and has a message to convey to us, and the security that Christ has taken unto himself this material world and now, risen, is intimately present to each being, surrounding it with his affection and penetrating it with his light.” (Laudato Si, 221)

The Orthodox Church has a liturgical office for this day:

“Lover of Mankind, keep unharmed the environment that clothes the earth, through which, by your will, we who inhabit the earth live and move and have our being, so that we, your unworthy suppliants, may be delivered from destruction and ruin,” (Stichera at Psalm 140).

Meditation by Archpriest David Petras, edited

THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM: Entering Into the Jesus Prayer

Do you struggle to follow the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to “pray always”? For most of us living and working in the world, it can be difficult to let our prayer and participation in the liturgy permeate our entire lives and transform our hearts.

God invites us to persevere, and He has blessed the Church with many holy teachers and spiritual traditions to help us draw closer to Him.

In this Tuesday’s live webinar, discover the meaning and power of a centuries-old traditional prayer that has helped many devout Christians throughout the ages broaden their view of prayer and incorporate it more deeply into their lives.

THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM: Entering Into the Jesus Prayer
Tuesday, August 23
8:00 pm ET / Pre-class discussion 30 minutes prior

Register at: https://instituteofcatholicculture.org