The liturgical Calendar of the Oriental Orthodox Church begins on ‘Koodhosh-Etho’ (Sanctification of the Church) Sunday, falls on 8th Sunday before Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. So this will be the Sunday after 29th of October every year; for instance 2nd of Nov. in 2014. Like we have seven liturgical hours per day and seven days per week, the liturgical year is also 1 planed as seven seasons or periods. Each period of an year, each day of a week and each hour 2 of a day has some commonality in their theme! The seven periods are:
1. Koodhosh-Etho to Eldho (the Feast of Nativity of our Lord)/ Sunday/ Evening: refers the time from the start of Creation till to the birth of our Lord; covers the entire Old Testament.
2. Eldho to the the beginning of the Great-lent/ Monday/ Compline (before bed): refers the time from the birth of our Lord till to His Public Ministry; covers thirty years in the life of our Lord.
3. Great-lent/ Tuesday/ Night: the time of His Public Ministry; refers around the three and a half years that He ministered many those who believed in Him.
4. Feast of Resurrection to the Feast of Pentecost/ Wednesday/ Morning: refers the time that our Loud being with us as Resurrected Being and Presence; covers the forty days till His
ascension and the ten days that the Apostles and believers awaited for the Holy Spirit.
5. Pentecost to the Feast of Transfiguration (Aug. 6th)/ Thursday/ 7am: refers the time of the Growth of the Church through the propagation of the Gospel by the Apostles, Prophets,
Martyrs and holy Fathers, Doctors and Departed of the Church.
6. From Aug.6th to the Feast of exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sep. 14th)/ Friday/ Noon: refers the assurance in Him and believe those who suffered for the Kingdom of God will be glorified.
7. From Sep. 14th to the next Koodhosh-Etho/ Saturday/ 3pm: refers the Futuristic Period as we affirm in the last part of the Nicene Creed, “we look forward for the resurrection of the dead and a life eternal to come”.
It is arranged in such a beautiful way by the Fathers to lead us in a meaningful Christ centered spiritual life and for personal meditation that in every year we begin from the bingeing of Creation of the World to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we grow with Him, becoming disciples, follow Him in His Public Ministry like His suffering, death, resurrection, ascending into heaven, descending of the Holy Spirit, growth of the Church and finally looking forward the Last Judgement and Second-coming. The same pattern and sequence we can see both in meditation theme of each day in a week and also in each canonical hour of a day!
While Sunday, being the first day according to the creation account of the Holy Scripture, represents the binging of Creation, when we reach to Saturday being the seventh day, represents Sabbath, a day of rest and hence the Church remembers all the Departed souls on Saturday! Likewise, while the Evening time represents the start of Creation, the 9th hour, the last canonical hour of each day, represents the Resurrection of the dead in Christ. This spiritual Rhythm and harmony is seen in every aspect of the liturgical life of the Church!
The Holy Scripture itself begins from the Creation story, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”(Gen. 1:1), prepares the way for our Lord through the Old Testament and in the New Testament it further explains that the ‘Word of God’ became Man in Christ, through His redemptive-works He paved a way to humanity, founded the Holy Church as His own bride and made her to await for His Second Coming, the Last-Judgement and promised eternal Salvation. He assures: ‘He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. And the Church pray and saying: “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). To conclude this part of our discussion, I repeat that the Books of the Holy Scripture, by the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are written and arranged in this chronological order from Creation to the Second Coming of our Lord and the same order we can see in our weekly prayers, daily prayer-hours, further in the Holy Qurbana and in the affirmation of the Faith of the Church as well. This is the beauty of Orthodox liturgical tradition.
Now let me give few notes about the important liturgical days of our Church in November in a brief.
2 Nov.: Along with the Sunday of the Feast of Sanctification, the first day of the liturgical Calendar year, for us it also the 112th Memorial Feast of Saint Gregorios of Parumala.3
5 Nov.: we have the 7th Memorial Feast of our Father Stephanos Mar Theodosius of Calcutta Diocese.
8 Nov.: 18th Memorial Feast of Catholicos His Holiness Baselios Marthomma Mathews I
9 Nov.: Sunday of the Feast of Rededication of the Church. It is specially remarkable that every year the Church sets parts a fortnight before the Advent period for Sanctification and rededication of her members.
13 &14 Nov.: The Church observes Memorial Feasts of John Chrisostom and Apostle Philip, pillars of Orthodox Faith, respectively.
16 Nov.: Announcement to Zachariah about the birth of John the Baptist, the Forerunner of Christ. (Luke 1: 1-25) From this Sunday onwards the Incarnation Event begins. This Sunday and following week denotes the Inter-Testamentel period. 20 Nov. is the 3rd Memorial Feast of Job Mar Philoxinos.
23 Nov.: The great Feast of Annunciation. The Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce to her that she would conceive and bear a son, even though she “knew no man.” According to holy tradition Mary was only fifteen when she was visited by Gabriel. (Luke 1: 26-38).
24 Nov.: The 198th Memorial Feast of Malankara-Metropolitan ‘Sabha-Joythis’ Pulikkottil Joseph Mar Dionysius II, the founder of Kottayam seminary & 18th Memorial Feast of glorified Paulose Mar Gregorios.
28 Nov.: The Memorial Feasts of Jacob Baradaeus, bishop of Edessa & Dionysius Barsleebi, great Fathers and Doctors of the Oriental Orthodox Church from 6th and 12th centuries.
29 Nov.: e Memorial Feast of Jacob of Serugh, bishop, theologian and great poet of Oriental Orthodox Church from 6th Century.
30 Nov.: Visitation Sunday. The Church celebrates the visit of Mother Mary to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (Luke1: 39-56). It is also the Memorial Day of Apostle Andrews.
The important days of the Church Calendar of the month December can be discussed later. May God Almighty bless us to keep the Holy Tradition of the Church!
1- daily work begins, 12pm: Noon and 3pm: 9th Hour/ end of daily work. However, for convince of community worship, the 9th hour of the previous day along with Evening and Compline complied together as Evening Prayer and likewise the Night, Morning, 3rd Hour and Noon are compiled in the Morning Prayer.
2- A twelve month Calendar having 1st. Jan. as the first day of the year is only one system of looking it, introduced by the Romans and became popular through Roman colonialism. Actually almost every culture of the world has there own
3- Whenever it comes memory of saints on a Sunday, the Church commemorate that Feast on the very next day in order to keep the liturgical importance of Sunday; while all Sundays are observed as Feast of Resurrection of our Lord.calendar year and begins on different dates. Nothing special is happening to Earth of solar system on 1st of Jan.!