The Christmas Eve
The Holy Church celebrated today the eve of the Nativity of Christ, the Christmas Eve.
On this day at the Trinity Cathedral of the Seraphim-Diveyevo monastery, the Royal Hours with the reading of the Epistles and the Gospels was followed by the Vespers and the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. During the Vespers service, eight Old Testament Paremias containing the prophecies about the arrival of the Savior to the world were read.
At the end of the Divine Liturgy and the Vespers service that followed, the lit candle holder was placed in the middle of the church to symbolize the star of Bethlehem. The clergy sang the troparion to the Nativity of Christ standing in front of it.
After the service, the sisters headed by Hegumenia Sergiya walked along the Holy Kanavka.
“Christ is Born!” is truly joyful news. The people languished for centuries in anticipation of this joy. In His Nativity, we see a foreshadowing of our salvation gifted to us by Christ. In our Savior and Redeemer, we receive the chance of renewal and become the partakers of eternal life.
As early as the 4th century, the Orthodox Church established the rule to celebrate the Eve of the Nativity of Christ. The hierarch Anatoly the Patriarch of Constantinople of the 5th century, followed by the hierarchs Anatoly and Sofrony of Jerusalem in the 6th century, as well as Venerable St. Cosmas of Maiuma and St. John of Damascus in the 8th century, wrote the holy hymns for the feast of the Nativity of Christ that our Church uses to this day singing glory to this festive event.
“Make ready, O Bethlehem: let the manger be prepared, let the cave show its welcome. The truth has come, the shadow has passed away; born of a Virgin, God has appeared to men, formed as we are and making godlike the garment He has put on. Therefore Adam is renewed with Eve, and they call out: ‘Thy good pleasure has appeared on earth to save our kind’.