Today on the Byzantine calendar, the Church commemorates both the Circumcision of the Lord and our father among the saints Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia.
Our Lord was circumcised on the eighth day after His Nativity in accordance with Jewish law as a sign of God’s covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The significance of this is manyfold; in emptying Himself, He who wrote the Law submitted Himself to it, which He came not to destroy but to fulfil. This submission also demonstrated that Christ was truly incarnate, truly robed in flesh, and not simply appearing to be a man.
Saint Basil the Great was born to a wealthy yet pious family at Caesarea in 330. Highly educated in philosophy, philology, oratory, law, naturalist, astronomy, mathematics and medicine, he developed a close friendship with Saint Gregory the Theologian in Athens. He later returned to Caesarea, where he became an ascetic and laid the foundations of Eastern monasticism, later being joined by Saint Gregory.
As the heresy of Arianism spread through the Empire and even to the imperial throne, Saint Basil arose as one of the principal defenders of Orthodoxy, being consecrated Archbishop of Caesarea in 370. He died on 1 January nine years later, shortly after blessing his friend Saint Gregory to accept consecration as Archbishop of Constantinople, and was immediately acclaimed as a saint. The Church continues to celebrate the Divine Liturgy of Saint Basil the Great today and on nine other occasions during the year. (SSC)
A blessed new year to all of you! Christ is born! Happy 2019!!!
On January 1, in addition to Circumcision of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, we remember one of the great Fathers of the Church, St. Basil the Great. He is known as one of the Three Holy Hierarchs; Basil’s life and writings inspire the work we do in the Church. Pray for the Parish through the intercession of St. Basil, that God may bless our work in 2019.
From a biography by St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid:
St Basil was born in the reign of the Emperor Constantine, in about 330. While still unbaptised, he spent fifteen years in Athens studying philosophy, rhetoric, astronomy and other contemporary secular disciplines. Among his fellow-students were Gregory the Theologian and Julian, later the apostate emperor. When already of mature years, he was in the Jordan together with his former tutor Ebulios. He was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia for nearly ten years, and died at the age of fifty.
A great champion of Orthodoxy, a great torch of moral purity and zeal for the Faith, a great theological mind, a great builder and pillar of the Church of God, Basil fully deserved his title “the Great”. In the Office for his Feast, he is referred to as a bee of the Church of Christ, bringing honey to the faithful but stinging those in heresy. Many of the writings of this Father of the Church have survived – theological, apologetic, on asceticism and on the Canons. There is also the Liturgy that bears his name. This Liturgy is celebrated ten times in the year: on January lst, on the Eves of Christmas and the Theophany, on every Sunday in the Great Fast with the exception of Palm Sunday, and on the Thursday and Saturday in Great Week.
St Basil departed this life peacefully on January l, 379, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ.
Christ is born!
“O Jesus enthroned on high together with Your eternal Father and divine Spirit ….” (Troparion of the Circumcision)
Divine Liturgy on January 1, New Year’s Day. On Tuesday, we liturgically remember that 8 days ago we celebrated Christmas. Today according to Jewish custom, we recall Jesus underwent the Circumcision.
It is also the feast day of Our Father Among the Saints, Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia. Father Iura will use the Eucharistic prayers of St. Basil.
~10:45 a.m. Lytia and blessing of Bread
~11:00 a.m. For the people of the parish with the Anointing – Myrovann
Following the Divine Liturgy we will have some champagne in the church hall; please bring something sweet to eat to celebrate the —New Year’s Day 2019!
PS: the image is of St Basil the Great from our parish.