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January 1 - Church Calendar & Significance other than New Year

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  • George Varghese, AB Canada
    January 1 The Church has 1st January apart from being New Years day , a unique position, as it is on this day our Church celebrates: 1. Commemoration of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2008
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      January 1
      The Church has 1st January apart from being New Years day ,
      a unique position, as it is on this day our Church celebrates:

      1. Commemoration of the Circumcision of our Lord & Saviour Jesus

      2.Feast day for Cappodocian Fathers , All Holy Fathers & Teachers

      It is recorded that on the eigth day that Jesus was circumsised, as
      according to the Law. May this allow us to contemplate that He who
      made the Law, became obedient to Law, became man, out of Love to
      restore us to the image of God.

      On Cappodocian Fathers - From Late Fr. V.C Samuel's Article

      "The Cappadocians were three Church Men , who acquired fame from
      the 70's of the 4th century. They were Basil of Caesarea, his brother
      Gregory of Nyssa and their friend Gregory of Nazianzus.

      There was a theological development in the East, which
      defended the faith approved by Nicea under the leadership of the
      Cappodocean theologians. By that time the Eastern Church men had gone
      weary of the superficiality of the Arian intellectualism and were
      willing to listen to the Nicene leaders. Now the Cappadocians were
      able to clarify to the Easteners that their suspicion of the Nicea
      was illfounded and that an acceptance of the Council's emphasis was
      the only way to conserve the faith as they themselves confessed.

      The contribution of the Cappadocian Fathers in this evolution
      deserves special mention here. One of the reasons why the Arian side
      could advance was the lack of terminology to clarify the relation
      among the triad of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Nicea had
      employed the term "Ousia", essence or being, and affirmed that the
      Father and the Son had the same Ousia. This could be widened to
      include the Holy Spirit as well. Thus it was possible to offer the
      clarification that all the three were united in the same being. How
      then were the three to be distinguished? It was precisely here that
      the Cappadocians made their lasting contribution. They differentiated
      two terms `Ousia' and `hypostasis', one from the other, though
      etymologically and in use so far they had the same meaning. Ousia, a
      feminine participle of the word `eimi' in Greek, which meant to
      be `to be' or `I am' stood for "being per se' and hypostasis for `the
      reality underlying a thing'. The Cappadocian trio maintained that the
      former term could be reserved for that which is common and that
      latter for particular included in the common. Thus in the case of God
      Ousia referred to Godhead and hypostasis to each of the three. In
      this way the Trinitarian formula was proposed by the Cappadocian
      theologians in consonance with the Nicene affirmation, and the Church
      accepted it. This formula and the confession that the Son, the second
      person of the Holy Trinity, became incarnate in Jesus Christ,
      constituted the accepted norm of Orthodoxy at the beginning of the
      5th century. The Son was thus affirmed `to be of the same being' with
      the Father and the Holy Spirit. All the three were confessed to
      be "of the same being" with one another"

      While V.C Samuel Achen stressed much on the Cappodocian Fathers on
      basis of them giving a clear explanation of Holy Trinity in face of
      heretic teaching, for the Church ,each of the fathers had a special
      role in transmitting their faith to the world in their times and to
      Church as a whole from then on to eternity.

      For Example what St. Basil wrote in 4th Century is apt for us now:

      On 2 Thess. 2:15 – Therefore, Brethren, Stand fast and hold the
      traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.

      Of the doctrines and injections kept by the Church, some we have from
      written instruction, but some we have received from Apostolical
      tradition, by succession in private. Both the former and the latter
      have one and the same force for piety; and this will be contracted by
      no one, who has ever so little knowledge in the ordinances of the
      Church. For were we to dare to reject unwritten customs, as if they
      had no great importance, we would insensibly mutilate the Gospel,
      even in the most essential points, or rather, for the teaching of the
      Apostles leave but an empty name.

      For instance: let us mention before all else the very fist and
      commonest act of Christians, that they who trust in the name of our
      Lord Jesus Christ should sign themselves with the sign of the cross;
      who has taught this by writing? To turn to the East in prayer' what
      Scripture have we for this? The words of invocation in the change of
      the Eucharistic bread and of the Cup of blessing; by which of the
      saints have they been left to us in writing?
      For we are not content with those words which the Apostle or the
      Gospel records, but both before them and after them we pronounce
      others also, which we hold to be of great force for the Sacrament,
      though we have received them from unwritten teaching.

      By what Scripture is it in like manner that we bless the water of
      baptism, the oil of unction and the person himself who is baptized?
      Is it not by a silent and secret tradition? What more? The very
      practice itself of anointing with oil; what written word have we for
      it? Whence is the rule of trine immersion? And the rest of the
      ceremonies at Baptism, the renunciation of Satan and his angels? From
      what Scripture are they taken? Are they not all from this unpublished
      and private teaching which our Fathers kept under a reserve
      inaccessible to curiosity and profane disquisition, having
      been taught as a first principle to guard by silence the sanctity of
      the mysteries?

      St Basil the Great.

      May the intercession & teaching of all the Fathers & Teachers be a
      guide to us as we go through each day in this coming year. Let us
      pray that Church will bring forth out of us, many teachers and saints

      George Varghese
      Fort McMurray, AB, Canada
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