Monday, 1 December 2014


As with Pascha, or Easter, the Feast of the Nativity begins with a period of preparation. It is
preceded by a fast corresponding to Lent and lasting for forty days. The fast begins on
November 15.

On the Sundays immediately before
December 25, special
commemorations emphasise the
link between the Old Covenant and
the New. On December 20 the
Forefeast of the Nativity is
commemorated, and the daily
liturgical texts are directed toward
the Feast itself. On Christmas Eve,
services include the Great or Royal
Hours, the Great Vespers, and the
Liturgy of Saint Basil.
On The Feast of the Nativity itself
the service commemorates the birth
of Christ in Bethlehem, the
adoration of the Shepherds, and the
arrival of the Wise Men with their
gifts. The service held on this day is
the Liturgy of Saint John

The days following Christmas are associated with the Theotokos and Joseph. December 26
is the Synaxis of the Mother of God, and the first Sunday after the Feast commemorates
“Joseph the Betrothed.” December 29 commemorates the Massacre of the Innocents, and
January 1 the Circumcision of our Lord. The Nativity season concludes on December 31, but
the spirit of the festival extends to the celebration of Theophany (Epiphany), the feast
commemorating the Baptism of our Lord in the Jordan River.

The virgin cometh today to the cave to give birth, ineffably to bring forth the
Word Eternal. Wherefore, rejoice, O earth, at the message; with the angels
and shepherds give glory to Him, Who shall appear by His own will, as a
young child, He Who is from eternity, God.

Kontakion Preparatory to Nativity