Orthodoxy and Christmas

The Theotokos and the Christ

When you grow up in Eastern Christianity, aka Byzantine Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, you are seriously religious.

These are religions that have never had an Enlightenment, never experienced a Reformation or Counter-Reformation, and have liturgies dating from 1500 years ago, spoken in languages dating from centuries ago (Coptic, Ancient Greek, Syriac, etc.).

When you enter our churches, you will immediately note the many icons which adorn the walls, the entrance to the Church, and the huge Icon-adorned Iconostasis which separates the priests from the flock. Our saints are painted as medieval Byzantine warriors, ready to do battle with the Devil’s forces on the day of the Apocalypse, which of course was written in Ancient Greek, by St. John, on a Greek Island, Patmos, according to what was revealed to him by God.

There are no sacraments in Orthodoxy, only mysteries, incense, incantations and contemplation. Ours is a religion of prayer and forgiveness, not of condemnation and righteousness. We follow the gentler footsteps of Jesus Christ in thinking that all can be redeemed by prayer and true penance, even the Fallen Angel himself.

Sometimes, it is good to pray for your enemies, not condemn them.

And thus, we go to Church on Christmas to celebrate the Nativity, as part of the yearly Church Cycle, which begins in September and culminates in the Pascha, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Christ, and his 50 days back upon the Earth (Pentecost).

In this spirit, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and wish to you that your spiritual life be full, that your life be full of friends, family and goodness, and that you have a place of worship in your life.

Amen.

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