1st Ode Katavasia of Christmas

1st Ode Katavasia of Christmas This hymn is chanted in every Matins (Όρθρος) service from the 21st November until Christmas Day. It is the 1st Ode of the Katavasies of Christmas, written by St Kosmas, Bishop of Maiouma. Most of the hymn is an exact duplication of the opening of the 38th Oration of St Gregory the Theologian on the Feast of Theophany, from the thrice-fold repetition of the exclamatory phrases beginning with ‘Christ’, up to the phrase which St Gregory himself borrows from Psalm 91:1, “Sing to the Lord all the earth”. Τhese words were also sung by the [...]

By |2016-10-14T14:48:26+11:00January 23rd, 2016|Comments Off on 1st Ode Katavasia of Christmas

The Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord

‘We worship Thy Nativity, O Christ; show us also your divine Theophany’ (From the Service of the Great Hours, 24th December) Throughout the ages, there have been many people who have desired to see God. Moses, a faithful servant of God pleaded with his Maker to see His face, but was granted only a momentary glimpse of His Presence. As he stood behind the cleft of a rock, it was not the face of God that Moses saw, but His back (Exodus 33:22-23). This was a preview of the Nativity and Theophany, two events from the life of Jesus that [...]

By |2016-10-14T14:48:30+11:00January 23rd, 2016|Comments Off on The Nativity and Theophany of Our Lord

Contemplating the Icon of the Nativity

It is said that icons are a pictorial representation of Scripture, where iconographers utilise not only geometry and colour, but also symbolism, theology and perspective. This is true for the icon of the Nativity of Christ where the mystery of the Incarnation, which was hidden from before time, is now revealed to all through its contemplation. Isaiah states that “the ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not consider” (Isaiah 1:3). Here the least intelligent of domesticated animals show wise instinct to recognise the Saviour, whereas Israel did not [...]

By |2016-10-14T14:50:10+11:00March 7th, 2015|Comments Off on Contemplating the Icon of the Nativity

Christmas . . . Xmas . . . ✗!

Christmas . . .  Xmas . . .  ✗!   In the past, perhaps up to the generation previous to ours, Christmas was celebrated with a significant insight into its meaning: that is, we commemorated the birth of Jesus Christ. As a result, the day had a considerable religious significance with corresponding relevant expressions of Church events, carol singing, exuberant Christmas decorations, giving to the poor and the needy, and real expressions of goodwill to one another. That was then. . .  when people celebrated Christmas more or less meaningfully. But things changed, somehow with rapidity. Our "Western" civilisation, discovered [...]

By |2016-10-14T14:50:10+11:00March 7th, 2015|Comments Off on Christmas . . . Xmas . . . ✗!

The Greatest Gift

‘He took my body. He offers me His Spirit. He gives me the treasure of eternal life, taking but also giving: He takes my body so that He may sanctify it, He gives me His Spirit so that He may save me.’ (St John Chrysostom, Homily on the Birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ). Christmas has come to be synonymous with gifts, but St John Chrysostom’s above words, delivered to his congregation at a Christmas service in Antioch in the fourth century A.D., remind us about the greatest divine gift of all. Christmas, the Incarnation of our Lord is God’s [...]

By |2016-10-14T14:50:10+11:00March 7th, 2015|Comments Off on The Greatest Gift