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Nativity of Christ feast on Christmas Eve?


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#1 Jason H.

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:19 AM

I was wondering if anyone else's parish is holding the Feast of the Nativity on Christmas Eve? I thought that the Great Feasts had to be celebrated on the Day on which they fell.

-Ignatios (Jason H.)

#2 Paul Cowan

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:02 AM

Technically, the day begins at 6:00pm the night before. But my parish is holding our Nativity service at 8:00pm on the 25th.

Paul

#3 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 12:58 PM

Generally and Liturgically speaking, Vespers ends the previous day and begins the next. So the Nativity Vigil begins the Nativity Feast. Many parishes hold the Vigil at 11pm so that the actual Divine Liturgy begins at midnight. Others have the Vigil earlier and follow it with the Divine Liturgy since it is technically the next day after the Vigil service which includes Vespers which ends the day which makes what follows after the "day" of the Feast, Liturgically speaking.

Herman the vigilant Pooh

#4 Jim McQuiggin

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:02 PM

We will celebrate the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil on the evening of the 24th. As Paul Cowan pointed out, the liturgical day begins at sunset.

We have only one priest - no altar servers - and two, at best three, chanters/choir (who scramble to do some altar server duties). It's simply too much for us to do another Liturgy in the morning. I don't know what we will do in 2011 when December 25 (New Calendar) falls on a Sunday. I'm hoping it will be the Festal Liturgy in the morning.

Also, Ignatios, I wish you a blessed name day! Many years!

#5 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:52 PM

We will celebrate the Vesperal Divine Liturgy of St Basil on the evening of the 24th. As Paul Cowan pointed out, the liturgical day begins at sunset.

We have only one priest - no altar servers - and two, at best three, chanters/choir (who scramble to do some altar server duties). It's simply too much for us to do another Liturgy in the morning. I don't know what we will do in 2011 when December 25 (New Calendar) falls on a Sunday. I'm hoping it will be the Festal Liturgy in the morning.

Also, Ignatios, I wish you a blessed name day! Many years!


If the Feast is on a Sunday then the full schedule would be: Royal Hours on the preceding Friday. Friday evening Vespers of Forefeast. Saturday morning Liturgy of St John Chrysostom. Slav usage after the Liturgy: Vespers with OT rdgs, litany, Vouchsafe O Lord, litany, and end immediately after this with dismissal (sing festal tropar & kondak in middle of the church before the main analoy). In Slav usage we begin the Vigil with Great Compline but in Byz. usage the Vigil begins with the Vespers. Sunday (ie festal) liturgy is St Basil's.

Now there's a very good solution if you are short on man/woman power for Saturday morning. If you follow Slav usage then on Saturday morning just do the Vespers with the shortened ending. But if you follow Byzantine/Greek usage you see that in any case the Vigil already has the Vespers with the OT readings included- so the main parts of the feast are still there and not left out.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#6 Jason H.

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:08 PM

This is the first year that my parish is doing this and it caught me off guard. Usually I spend Christmas Eve with my only surviving family and then am able to attend the Feast of the Nativity on Christmas Day. But I'm conflicted on what I should do. I know that the Church should come first but this might be the last Christmas I spend with my family if I am able to decide on a monastery in the coming year.

Thanks Jim!

-Ignatios

#7 Michael Astley

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:47 PM

My parish has only ever done the Divine Liturgy on the 25th before this year, as we worshipped in a private home. This coming Christmas will be our second since we have been in our new church and we shall servethe Vesperal Liturgy of St Basil for the first time on the evening of the 24th. My question is this: is the church censed during psalm 103 as at Vigil or is there no censing and the doors remain closed at this point as at stand-alone Vespers?

Many thanks.

Michael

#8 Anthony Stokes

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:39 PM

Michael,
it's Great Vespers, but Psalm 103 is just read, not sung like at Vigil, so I don't think there is a censing.

Sbdn. Anthony

#9 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:32 PM

Subdcn Anthony is correct. The first censing occurs at Lord I Have Cried.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#10 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 12:33 AM

This is the first year that my parish is doing this and it caught me off guard. Usually I spend Christmas Eve with my only surviving family and then am able to attend the Feast of the Nativity on Christmas Day. But I'm conflicted on what I should do. I know that the Church should come first but this might be the last Christmas I spend with my family if I am able to decide on a monastery in the coming year.

Thanks Jim!

-Ignatios


Since you will be leaving them for the rest of your life if you are accepted, might it be a good idea to invite them to the service so they can see what you are getting yourself in for? It will give them time to ask questions and try to talk you out of it before you wake up one morning and say "Good morning. See ya." There was a story a few years back about a youth at Fr. Ephraims' monastery in Arizona. They thought he was kidnapped and brainwashed by kooks and tried to get the courts to return their son to them. That did not turn out well for anyone; especially the kid.

Most, not all, of the lives of the saints I have read say they asked the blessing of their families before they left. Some just took off, but I dare say that is not very responsible, kind or loving. So to offer an answer to your question, Tell them this is very important to you and ask them if they will consider attending service. They might even adjust their schedule to suit yours. But you have to ask first.

Paul

#11 Paul Cowan

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 01:10 AM

Technically, the day begins at 6:00pm the night before. But my parish is holding our Nativity service at 8:00pm on the 25th.

Paul


Well, that was wrong. I am glad I looked at our church calendar. Fr. would have been mighty peeved had I arrived a day late. We have Royal Hours at 9:00am on the 24th followed by baptisms and chrismations at 11:00am, then 7:00pm is Orthros and Divine Liturgy at 8:00pm all on the 24th. At 6:30pm on the 25th is Great Vespers then our Patron Saint Day on Sunday the 26th (St. Joseph the Betrothed).

Paul

#12 Michael Astley

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 12:39 PM

Many thanks, Subdeacon Anthony and Fr Raphael.

One further question, based on obsrvations elswewhere in the past: is there any actual rubrical warrant for the omission of the litanies between the Gospel and Great Entrance when the vesperal Liturgy of St Basil is served on such occasions as Christmas, Holy Saturday, and so forth. or is this just abbreviation done by some priests to make the service shorter?

M

#13 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 02:53 PM

Many thanks, Subdeacon Anthony and Fr Raphael.

One further question, based on obsrvations elswewhere in the past: is there any actual rubrical warrant for the omission of the litanies between the Gospel and Great Entrance when the vesperal Liturgy of St Basil is served on such occasions as Christmas, Holy Saturday, and so forth. or is this just abbreviation done by some priests to make the service shorter?

M


The rubrics do not call for abbreviations in the Liturgy. But over time they can become the custom. Thus one often sees during the common Liturgy some of the litanies left out after the Gospel and a very fast movement to the Entrance; an abbreviated litany before Our Father is also quite common. It's also quite common to see at Matins during the Vigil a jump from the 6 Psalms to 'God is the Lord'. For the Kathisma one Psalm is done for each 'Glory'; only about half of the canon is done with katavasia left out except at the 3rd, 6th, 8th & 9th odes.

These customs are often jurisdictional in nature. I suppose that one has to discern what comes from pastoral economia and what from bad practice.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#14 Michael Astley

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 05:27 PM

Thank you, Father Raphael.

I hope you will forgive my many questions. We have simply never done this before and my poor parish priest works full time and is otherwise busy with practicialities of parish life. I just want to make this as easy for him as possible without him having to worry about these little details. I have now finished the choir book for the Vesperal Liturgy and typesetting all the music, and have a little sheet for the servers. However, I realise I do not know when the doors open. They are closed for the Old Testament prophecies, and opened for the responsories after the third and sixth readings, I know, but when do they then open again? At the end of the Short Litany before the Trisagion, perhaps? That would be my guess.

Thank you, again.

M

#15 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 25 December 2010 - 08:43 PM

Thank you, Father Raphael.

I hope you will forgive my many questions. We have simply never done this before and my poor parish priest works full time and is otherwise busy with practicialities of parish life. I just want to make this as easy for him as possible without him having to worry about these little details. I have now finished the choir book for the Vesperal Liturgy and typesetting all the music, and have a little sheet for the servers. However, I realise I do not know when the doors open. They are closed for the Old Testament prophecies, and opened for the responsories after the third and sixth readings, I know, but when do they then open again? At the end of the Short Litany before the Trisagion, perhaps? That would be my guess.

Thank you, again.

M


That's alright.

The doors are opened again at the end of the OT readings; ie immediately before the Small Litany (in other words the doors are opened for the Small Litany- because now we are in the Liturgy part of the service).

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#16 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 07:31 PM

We are having a discussion about whether the Divine Liturgy for Christmas Day ought to be on the morning of the 25th or from midnight 24/25th (like Pascha). The Greek tradition seems to be the former and the Russian tradition the latter. There seem to be strong arguments in favour of the latter - it is more mystical, and the Nativity of the Lord happened at night. Any observations?



#17 Michał

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 08:09 PM

We have ours at 2:00 (well, vigil at 2:00, Liturgy somewhen after 3:00) and another one at 9:00 (or 10:00).


Edited by Michał, 23 December 2014 - 08:14 PM.


#18 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 09:11 PM

We are having a discussion about whether the Divine Liturgy for Christmas Day ought to be on the morning of the 25th or from midnight 24/25th (like Pascha). The Greek tradition seems to be the former and the Russian tradition the latter. There seem to be strong arguments in favour of the latter - it is more mystical, and the Nativity of the Lord happened at night. Any observations?

The service texts suggest that it should be done in the morning as there is a Vigil service (Great Compline and Matins) in-between the Vesperal Liturgy on Christmas Eve and the Liturgy on Christmas Day, which would be rather hard to do should the Divine Liturgy be served at midnight. Further in the rubrics in my Menaion (Russian) it says that the Vigil should take place a the tenth watch (hour) of the night followed by the Liturgy, if done in full this would place the Liturgy starting after the 1st hour of the day.

 

That being said I know at least one parish locally that does celebrate the Divine Liturgy of the Nativity at midnight, though my priest is rather annoyed at their doing it as he regards it as a Western practice.

 

In Christ.

Daniel,



#19 Rdr Andreas

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 09:36 PM

I rather suspected it may be a western practice, but my wife and family insist a kind of 'winter Pascha' midnight service is better. I suppose so long as the liturgy were to start after midnight, as at Pascha, it would be all right.



#20 Olga

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Posted 23 December 2014 - 09:41 PM

I rather suspected it may be a western practice, but my wife and family insist a kind of 'winter Pascha' midnight service is better. I suppose so long as the liturgy were to start after midnight, as at Pascha, it would be all right.

 

Just to clarify, the Paschal liturgy follows the Paschal Midnight Office, Matins and the Hours. It is the Paschal Matins which start at midnight, not the Liturgy. :)






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