Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Feast of Christ's Circumcision


Tomorrow (January 1st), besides being for many the first day of the New Year (while the ecclesiastical New Year's Day is considered September 1st), are celebrated two great feasts of the Orthodox Church (the feasts of Christ's Circumcision and of St. Basil the Great). See below for St. Nikolai's account of the Circumcision of Christ (taken from:

Icon of Christ's Circumcision and of St. Basil the Great - both celebrated January 1st (icon taken from:

"The eighth day following His birth, the Divine Child was presented in the Temple and circumcised according to the Law existing in Israel since the time of Abraham. On this occasion, He was given the name Jesus [“Jesus” means “he who saves” (], which the Archangel Gabriel announced to the All-Holy Virgin Mary. The Old Testament circumcision was the proto-type of the New Testament baptism. The circumcision of our Lord shows that He received upon Himself the true body of man and not just seemingly, as was later taught of Him by heretics. Our Lord was also circumcised because He wanted to fulfill the entire Law which He Himself gave through the prophets and forefathers. In fulfilling the written Law, He replaced it with Baptism in His Holy Church as was proclaimed by the Apostle Paul: "For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation" (Galatians 6:15). (In the cycle of the liturgical calendar of the Church, this Feast of the Lord's Circumcision has neither a Forefeast nor an Antefeast)."

For more on St. Basil, one of the great Saints and Fathers of our Church, see: , , , ,

Apolytikion of Christ's Circumcision in the First Tone
Our human form hast Thou taken on Thyself without change, O greatly-compassionate Master, though being God by nature; fulfilling the Law, Thou willingly receivest circumcision in the flesh, that Thou mightest end the shadow and roll away the veil of our sinful passions. Glory be to Thy goodness unto us. Glory be to Thy compassion. Glory, O Word, to Thine inexpressible condescension.

Apolytikion of St. Basil the Great in the First Tone
Your voice resounded throughout the world that received your word by which, in godly manner, you taught dogma, clarified the nature of beings, and set in order the character of people. Venerable father, Royal Priesthood, intercede to Christ God to grant us great mercy.

Kontakion in the Third Tone
Now the Lord of all that is doth undergo circumcision, in His goodness cutting off the sins and failings of mortals. He this day doth give salvation unto the whole world; and the hierarch and bright daystar of the Creator now rejoiceth in the highest, Basil the wise and divine initiate of Christ.
(taken from: on January 1st)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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