January 1 - Church Calendar & Significance other than New Year
- 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
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
Fort McMurray, AB, Canada