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Online Liturgical Guide Adds January Texts

St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, commemorated on January 24St. Xenia of St. Petersburg, commemorated on January 24The first day of the civil new year begins with the celebration of an important act of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ, which leads to another celebration of one of His great feasts. The liturgical texts for the month of January, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

On January 1, eight days after His nativity, our Lord consented to be circumcised in the flesh in order to become the only human to fulfill the Law of Moses. This act of humility and servitude shows that our Lord identifies with the low estate of His people to deliver them from sin and death by introducing God's grace that supersedes the ancient Law.

On this same day, we commemorate St. Basil the Great, archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, who reposed peacefully on January 1, 379.

Letter From His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph for Choir and Chanter Appreciation Sunday: December 13, 2015

"O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!" Psalm 95:1-2

Beloved in Christ,

Each year in the month of December we remember our choirs and chanters. This sacred ministry of the Church is essential to the beauty of our divine services. Oftentimes, a person's first experience of our Holy Orthodox Church is witnessing one of our beautiful services. This experience can either be enhanced by a beautiful and well-prepared choir, or diminished by an unprepared one. We are grateful to all of our choir directors, chanters and singers for their dedication, effort and commitment to making the divine services in their respective parishes beautiful to both God and the faithful.

December Liturgical Texts Now Available

His Beatitude Patriarch John X blesses the loaves during Great Vespers at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, NY, in honor of its patronal feast on Dec. 5, 2014.His Beatitude Patriarch John X blesses the loaves during Great Vespers at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Brooklyn, NY, in honor of its patronal feast on Dec. 5, 2014.One of the most beloved saints in all of Christendom, plus two others with a strong devotion in the Patriarchate of Antioch, as well as the prophets and ancestors of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, are celebrated in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The Liturgical Texts for December, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

On December 6, we celebrate St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, the fourth-century archbishop of Myra in Lycia. None of his writings is extant, but his examples of Christian generosity, virtue and love endure to this day. St. Nicholas is the living embodiment of the words “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). He is also the patron and protector of two cathedrals – Brooklyn and Los Angeles – in our Archdiocese.

Liturgical Instructions for 2016 Now Available

So that parishes can properly schedule divine services in the coming months, His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph has approved the Instructions for Christmas (Nativity) 2015, Epiphany (Theophany) 2016, and Great Lent 2016. Also released is the Sunday Liturgical Readings Calendar for 2016. If you have any questions, please write to Fr. Thomas Zain, Chairman of the Department of Liturgics.

November Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Altar servers process in front of an icon of the Archangel Michael at St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, CA.Altar servers process in front of an icon of the Archangel Michael at St. Michael Church in Van Nuys, CA.Saints who healed and refused payment, the first bishop of the missionary church that would become the Antiochian Archdiocese, the bodiless hosts that protect us, a Great Feast of the Theotokos, and a major American holiday fill the celebrations of the Orthodox Church in the month of November. The Liturgical Texts to guide us through services on these holy days, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

On the first day of the month, we commemorate Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Mesopotamia in Asia Minor. These "unmercenary" saints received no money for the medicine they practiced and the healings they performed. They are not to be confused with Ss. Cosmas and Damian of Rome (July 1) who were also unmercenaries.

Each year on the first Saturday of November we commemorate St. Raphael Hawaweeny. He said of himself: "I am an Arab by birth, a Greek by primary education, an American by residence, a Russian at heart, and a Slav in soul." His multicultural influences and love of Jesus Christ helped him become the "Good Shepherd of the Lost Sheep in America." The Archdiocese celebrates St. Raphael close to the date of his birth, November 8.

And that day happens to be the feast of the Archangels. The Orthodox Church celebrates Raphael – the namesake of the first bishop of Brooklyn – Michael, Gabriel and all the bodiless powers of heaven that minister directly to God the Father and protect us on earth who are called to be heirs of salvation (Heb. 1:14).

Complete Epistle and Gospel Readings Available in Enhanced Calendar

The team at antiochian.org, in cooperation with the Department of Liturgics and with the blessing and support of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, has launched an enhanced Daily Scripture Readings Calendar for use in parishes and homes across the Antiochian Archdiocese. Along with daily references, the complete Scriptural texts are now published in full for added convenience and spiritual enrichment. The readings can be accessed in the homepage sidebar, "Today's Scripture Reading," to the right of the Feature column.

"Creation of a complete calendar has long been a priority of His Eminence, who since his enthronement has wanted the clergy and faithful to be able to access the full Epistle and Gospel readings for both corporate and private worship," noted the Archdiocese's Director of Internet Ministry, Douglas Cramer. "Our Daily Calendar uniquely includes readings in honor of Antiochian saints, such as Ss. Sergius and Bacchus (October 7), and St. Abercius (October 22). Now our readers will be able to follow the annual liturgical guide of the Patriarchate of Antioch."

The readings will soon be published daily on the Archdiocese Facebook page as well.

New Order Form for Liturgical Publications

The Antiochian Archdiocese Department of Publications has provided a new order form for all liturgical books (PDF), including special Services and English/Arabic Service books. The Department of Publications is now housed at Antiochian Village, and orders made via the new form will be filled by the Antiochian Village Bookstore.

October Liturgical Texts Available for Download

His Grace Bishop Basil and the community of St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church of Erie, CO.His Grace Bishop Basil and the community of St. Luke Antiochian Orthodox Church of Erie, CO.The Liturgical Texts for October, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Every year, on the Sunday that falls from October 11-17, inclusive, the Orthodox Church celebrates the 350 Holy Fathers of the Seventh Ecumenical Council, convened in Nicaea in 787. They refuted the Iconoclast heresy, whose camp believed that all depictions of Christ, His Mother and the saints should be destroyed. The council decreed that the veneration of icons was not idolatry because the honor shown to them is not directed to the wood or paint, but passes to the prototype depicted therein.

September Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Bishop Thomas presides over the Procession of the Holy Cross on the Feast of the Exaltation (Elevation) at St. George in Allentown, PABishop Thomas presides over the Procession of the Holy Cross on the Feast of the Exaltation (Elevation) at St. George in Allentown, PAThe Liturgical Texts for September, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the the Online Liturgical Guide.

September 1 begins the Ecclesiastical New Year because, for the ancient Hebrews, it was the beginning of the civil year, the month of gathering the harvest and of the offering of thanks to God. On September 6, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Archangel Michael delivering from destruction a church and a holy, miraculous spring named for him in Colossae of Phrygia (modern-day west-central Turkey).

Like August, September features two of the twelve Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church: the Nativity of the Theotokos on September 8, and the Exaltation (Elevation) of the Holy Cross on September 14.

August Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Icons of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the patronal feast of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cambridge, MA, host parish of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention.Icons of the Dormition of the Theotokos, the patronal feast of St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church of Cambridge, MA, host parish of the 52nd Archdiocesan Convention.The Liturgical Texts for August, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

This month, the last of the Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar, features two of the twelve Great Feasts celebrated by the Church: the Transfiguration of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ (August 6); and the Dormition, or Falling-Asleep, of the Most-Holy Theotokos, the Ever-Virgin Mary (August 15). Celebration of these two feasts are not limited to one day each, but are expanded to seven days after the Transfiguration, and eight days after the Dormition.

In preparation for the Dormition, many parishes sing the famous Paraklesis Service with the Little Supplicatory Canon to the Theotokos.

July Liturgical Texts Available for Download

The Liturgical Texts for July, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

This year, the commemorations of two important saints fall on Sundays in July: St. Athanasius of Athos (July 5), one of the founders of monasticism on Holy Mount Athos more than a thousand years ago; and St. Paraskeva (July 26), a second-century martyr who endured many tortures going “from city to city to bring the pagans to the true Faith” (Synaxarion at Orthros).

Every year on the Sunday that falls in between July 13-19, the Orthodox Church commemorates the 630 Holy Fathers who also defended the true Faith at the Fourth Ecumenical Council, convened in Chalcedon in 451.

June Liturgical Texts Available for Download

Inside Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Potomac, MDInside Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church of Potomac, MDThe Liturgical Texts for June, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

The season of the Pentecostarion that began with Great and All-Holy Pascha concludes this year on June 7 with the Sunday of All Saints, who “shone forth throughout all the world, North and South, East and West” (Synaxarion of Orthros). In imitation of the Apostles who received “tongues of fire” on Pentecost to preach the Gospel in all corners of the globe, Orthodox Christians realize their calling on this day to do the same and become the holy ones of Jesus Christ. That is why, on the following day (June 8), they undertake the Apostles Fast, in order to spiritually prepare themselves for this witness.

May Liturgical Texts Available for Download

His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph reads the “Kneeling Prayers” of Pentecost at Holy Virgin Mary Antiochian Orthodox Christian Church, Yonkers, NY in 2010.The Liturgical Texts for May, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Starting Sunday, May 3, 2015, Sayidna Joseph has authorized a correction at the singing of "God is the Lord" in every Orthros service. The refrain will now properly read "God is the Lord and hath appeared unto us. Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord." This matches the refrain as sung in Arabic, Greek and all other languages. The Department of Sacred Music has begun to provide compositions to reflect this correction. Parishes are to download them and print them for their books. (Visit Sacred Music's page weekly to collect all eight tones.) This change will also be reflected in all future Archdiocesan service books and publications.

Online Liturgical Texts for April Now Available

Fr. Justin Havens of Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Salt Lake City, Utah baptizes new Orthodox Christians on Holy Saturday, 2014.Fr. Justin Havens of Ss. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church of Salt Lake City, Utah baptizes new Orthodox Christians on Holy Saturday, 2014.The liturgical texts for April, blessed by His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

By now, Orthodox Christians have completed their Lenten journeys by entering into the festive, albeit brief, period of Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday. When our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ raised his friend Lazarus from the dead after four days, He confirmed "the universal Resurrection." That is, our Lord shows us that He will raise all of those who believe that He is Life. Then, on Palm Sunday, we commemorate our Lord's triumphant entry into Jerusalem where the people cried out "Hosanna!" (or, "save us now!) and waved palms as symbols of victory. Antiochian parishes around the world festively celebrate this day as a second Pascha, bearing candles and palms in large outdoor processions.

Liturgical Texts Now Available for the Fifth Week of Great Lent

The Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos, depicted on the apse of Holy Trinity Antiochian Orthodox Church of Santa Fe, New Mexico

The fifth week of Great Lent serves as a preview of sorts for Great and Holy Week in the Orthodox Church, for it also offers a multitude of beautiful, spiritually transforming divine services. The liturgical texts for them, blessed by His Eminence, Metropolitan Joseph, are now ready for clergy and laity to download from the Online Liturgical Guide.

Usually, on the Wednesday night of the Fifth Week of Great Lent, the Orthodox Church offers Little Compline and recites "The Life of St. Mary of Egypt" by St. Sophronios, Patriarch of Jerusalem along with the Great Canon of Repentance by St. Andrew, Archbishop of Crete. However, in a rare occurrence this year, this day coincides with the great feast of the Annunciation to the Most Holy Theotokos, March 25.

Rather than try to celebrate these divine services all in one day, the Typikon ("rule book") directs the Church to reschedule some of them so that worshippers can celebrate all of them fully and properly, so that the theology contained in them can permeate their souls.