Return to Home Page for St. Michael Church

Click on the Holy Day to jump to its description:

September 1 Liturgical New Year  
September 8 Nativity of the Mother of God Solemn
September 14 Exaltation of the Cross Solemn
October 1 Protection of the Mother of God Solemn
November 8 Archangel Michael and All Angels Solemn
November 21 Entrance of the Mother of God Solemn
December 6 Nicholas of Myra, Archbishop Solemn
December 8 Conception of St. Anna Solemn
December 25 Christmas: Nativity of Our Lord Obligation
December 26 Synaxis of the Mother of God Solemn
January 1 Circumcision of Our Lord. Basil The Great, Archbishop Solemn
January 6 Theophany of Our Lord Obligation
February 2 Presentation of Our Lord Into the Temple Solemn
March 25 Annunciation of the Mother of God Solemn
Before Easter Holy Wednesday  
Before Easter Holy Thursday Solemn
Before Easter Great Friday Solemn
Before Easter Holy Saturday Solemn
Varies Easter: Resurrection of Our Lord - Pascha Obligation
After Easter Bright Monday Solemn
40 Days After Easter Ascension of Our Lord Obligation
June 24 Birth of John The Baptist Solemn
June 29 Sts. Peter & Paul Obligation
August 6 Transfiguration of Our Lord Solemn
August 15 Dormition of the Mother of God Obligation

Liturgical New Year

   

Go to top of this page

Nativity of the Mother of God

 

Go to top of this page

Exaltation of the Cross

   

Go to top of this page

Protection of the Mother of God

 

Go to top of this page

Archangel Michael and All Angels

 

Go to top of this page

Entrance of the Mother of God

   

Go to top of this page

Nicholas of Myra, Archbishop

 

Go to top of this page

Conception of St. Anna

 

Go to top of this page

Christmas: Nativity of Our Lord

 

Go to top of this page

Synaxis of the Mother of God

 

Go to top of this page

Circumcision of Our Lord. Basil The Great, Archbishop

   

Go to top of this page

Theophany of Our Lord

Theophany / Epiphany. The Lord's first public appearance takes place at His baptism for very good reason. Baptism is the symbol of death and resurrection; Christ came to the earth in order to die and be raised. Baptism is a symbol of repentance of sin, and its forgiveness; Christ came as the Lamb of God who takes upon Himself the sin of the world in order to take it away. Baptism is a symbol of sanctification; Christ has come to sanctify the whole of creation. Baptism is a symbol, finally of radical renewal. When one is baptized the old is over and new has come. And Christ has appeared on earth to bring all things to an end, and to make all things new. The act of baptism therefore, contains in symbol the entire mystery of Christ, the whole purpose of His coming. Christ did not need to be baptized for Himself. He had to be baptized for our sake, in order "to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). The baptism of John was a "baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. " The people came to John for Baptism "confessing their sins" (Mk 1:4-5). The Lord Jesus had no need for repentance. As God's son in human flesh He committed no sin. His baptism, therefore manifests His complete identification with sinful creatures. He literally becomes one of us, not only in our humanity, but in our sinfulness; not only in our life on earth, but also in our death. St. Paul writes: "For our sake He (God the Father) made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor 5:21).

The Manifestation of the Trinity. Jesus's baptism in the Jordan, which contains all the mysteries of our salvation, is not only His epiphany as the Messiah, the suffering servant of the Lord. It is also the first manifestation to the world of the greatest mystery of all, the worship of the trinity. At Jesus's baptism the mystery of all mysteries is clearly revealed to the world for the very first time. It is the open revelation, hinted at dimly in the "shadows" of the previous covenants of Israel, that the one true God is essentially a Father. Being love itself, God cannot remain isolated in the perfection of His divinity. This, we are told in the events of God's final and everlasting covenant, sealed by the divine blood of the Messiah, would be a contradiction in terms. The absolutely perfect God who is love itself - for "God is love" must be self-sharing by nature. He must manifest Himself and His divine perfection in the divine person of Another. And He does. For He has a Son who is eternal, divine and uncreated; a Son who is His divine image and Word, a Son who is "the radiance of the glory of God and the express image of His person" (Heb 1:3).

The Blessing of Water
The water placed in a large receptacle in the midst of the church is decorated with candles and flowers as the symbol of the beautiful world of God's original creation through His Word and Spirit—the same beautiful world which shall become the Kingdom of God at the end of time through its redemption by the Word Incarnate, Jesus Christ. People sometimes think that the blessing of water, and the practice of drinking it and sprinkling it on people and things is a "paganism" which has crept into the Christian Church. We know that this ritual was practiced by the People of God before the coming of Christ, as well as at the time of His manifestation (John 5-7). We also know that it has existed among Christians from very early times. Since the Son of God has taken human flesh and has appeared in the world, manifesting Himself in His baptism in the Jordan, all flesh and all matter is sanctified. Everything which is corrupted and polluted by the sinful works of humanity is cleansed and purified by the gracious works of God. All death-dealing powers of the devil which poison the good world of God's creation are destroyed. All things are again made new.

Go to top of this page

Presentation of Our Lord Into the Temple

This presentation or "meeting" is in fact the first meeting of the Lord with his people. The birth of Christ, the adoration of the shepherds and wise men had been confined to the small circle of the Holy Family's abode. Today, Christ appears in the midst of his people, for Simeon and the Prophetess Anna represent the elect. Christ, being an infant at the time, acted through his mother. Mary's miraculous motherhood placed her above the Mosaic Law, yet she chose to obey it. Forty days after the birth of her son, she went to Jerusalem in order to offer the prescribed sacrifice: a lamb, or if the parents' means did not permit it, two doves or two young pigeons.
We take the opportunity on this feast to also bless candles, symbolizing Christ, as the light of the world.

* Christ the coal of fire, whom holy Isaiah foresaw, now rests in the arms of the Theotokos as in a pair of tongs, and He is given to the elder.
* Today, Simeon takes in his arms the Lord of Glory Whom Moses saw of old in the darkness, when on Mt. Sinai he received the tablets of the Law.
* Moses in the day of old saw on Mount Sinai the back parts of God and was counted worthy in darkness and a storm of wind faintly to hear the divine voice. But now Simeon has taken in his arms God Who for our sakes took flesh without changing . . .
* He Who created Adam is carried as a babe. He Who cannot be compassed is compassed by the arms of the Elder.
* O Christ our God, Who has been pleased to rest this day in the arms of the Elder as upon the chariot of the cherubim, from the tyranny of the passions now deliver us who sing Thy praises, and save our souls.
— Hymns From the Service of the Day

Go to top of this page

Annunciation of the Mother of God

 

Go to top of this page

Holy Wednesday

To What Purpose This Waste?: The gospel at the liturgy of presanctified gifts tells of the anointing at Bethany. A woman bearing precious ointment in an alabaster jar, pours it on Jesus' head. The disciples are indignant: "To what purpose this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much and given to the poor." Jesus answers with praise for the woman's deed: "For you have the poor always with you; but you will not always have me. For in that she has poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial," This episode in Bethany has a  

Go to top of this page

Holy Thursday

The Upper Room: Holy Thursday takes us into the mystery of the Passover. The central mystery of the upper room lies in the Last Supper. The Lord Jesus, really present both as he who distributes and as he who is distributed, gives himself to us in the Eucharist. On Holy Thursday, it is particularly important to remember the link which our Lord wanted to establish between the meal in the upper room and the Jewish Passover, and between the same meal and the passion. Every Eucharist is a sacrificial meal. Each time that we make our communion with the body of Christ that has been broken and with his blood that has been shed, we are in communion with his passion, and take part in his sacrifice. We ought to break and offer our own selves, our selfish desires, our will. We are also in communion with all Christians everywhere through holy Eucharist. We also see on Holy Thursday the betrayal of our Lord by Judas. Judas with betrayal in his heart, accepts his body and blood, and we find his gesture odious. Judas has profaned the table of the Lord. BUT let us bear in mind our own sins and ask ourselves, after having shared the Lord's supper, have we given ourselves to sin, in serious matters through our own free will. The generosity revealed by Jesus in the redemption will consecrate the chrism which will then be sent to our parishes to be used for chrismation. It is only the bishop who consecrates chrism. Holy Thursday is also known as the beginning of the holy priesthood so it is very appropriate that the bishop should be with his priests on this special evening and as the shepherd to wash their feet.  

Go to top of this page

Great Friday

Twelve Passion Gospels: The morning matins service begins where we left our Lord on Holy Thursday with Jesus' words, after supper - the priestly prayer. It continues with his arrest in the Garden of Olives - strangely, the agony in the garden is passed over in silence - then the Jewish proceedings against Jesus, followed by the Roman proceeding, the scourging, the crowning with thorns, his bearing the Cross, the crucifixion, his death and finally the burial of our Lord. After each gospel, the response is: 'Glory to your long suffering, O Lord, glory to you,' and various hymns and antiphons are sung. Although a bit lengthy, this is truly a beautiful service because it is filled with so much scripture that it brings a tear to the eye and causes one to only contemplate his/her own sins and with great sorrow only want to embrace our Lord.

Vespers and Burial: Holy Friday confronts us with Jesus Christ crucified for our salvation. In our encounter with the cross of Jesus we can say that the cross is the instrument of our salvation, the instrument of Christ's sacrifice. Jesus' cross must be placed in the center of my life . . . of my thought . . . of my will . . . of my feelings . . . to look at all things in the perspective of the cross. To have such a perspective requires a radical change in our life. The burial service of our Lord should bring us to wholesome reflection. Perhaps we might really realize that our participation in parish life is more than just showing up at Christmas and Easter or "popping in" when it is convenient. Christ brings us together through his death and resurrection and in communion with Him every time we gather in church together in prayer and to celebrate Eucharist. Let us pray that all of us develop a better attitude about our Lord, our parish and ourselves during this most holy time. The burial service is a liturgical reenactment of scripture. The Holy Friday vespers end with the procession of the Holy Shroud and its placement into the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea, having obtained permission to remove the Body of Christ from the cross, wrapped it in a clean shroud and placed it in the new tomb. This without doubt became an object of Christian veneration.

 

Go to top of this page

Holy Saturday

   

Go to top of this page

Easter: Resurrection of Our Lord - Pascha

   

Go to top of this page

Bright Monday

   

Go to top of this page

Ascension of Our Lord

   

Go to top of this page

Birth of John The Baptist

   

Go to top of this page

Sts. Peter & Paul

   

Go to top of this page

Transfiguration of Our Lord

 

Go to top of this page

Dormition of the Mother of God

We have no historical documentation about Mary's death; no scriptural text mentions her end. Only the apocryphal gospels contain a detailed account of the Virgin's death, placing it at Jerusalem. We will return later to these writings, for it is they that inspired the icon and the liturgical text of the feast. But these accounts, very late in origin and full of legendary detail, accounts which the church has not accepted as canonical, should not trouble us, for the veneration of Mary is based not on folklore, but on Tradition, which is the complement of Scripture.

Indeed, tradition is the living memory of the Church, a memory which is transmitted from generation to generation. Ever since the time of the apostles, we keep in our memory the certainty that Mary, like her Son, has passed through death, and that like him she has risen. This is why the feast of the Dormition is a second Pascha, a passage from death to life, according to St. John's gospel: Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (Jn 5:24)

In the tradition of our faith, we also keep the vision of Mary's ascent to heaven with the body. We call this mystery the "Assumption." Like her Son, who ascended to the Father, so Mary was taken by angels and transported into heaven with her body.

 

Go to top of this page