Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christ is born! Let us glorify Him!

May each of you have a blessed Holy Nativity - Yeldho - Ledet
Your prayers and support are truly appreciated - please continue to pray for our efforts.
Chapel Services during this Holy Season
Saturday, December 25 - Yeldho Sunrise Qurbana - 6:00 AM
Sunday, December 26 - Sunday Services begin at 9:30 AM
Saturday, January 1 - Thanksgiving Prayers at the New Year - 11:00 AM
Sunday, January 2 - Sunday Services begin at 9:30 AM
Thursday, January 6 - Ledet services - 10:00 PM
Saturday, January 8 - Monthly Geez Prayers and Songs 6:00 PM
Sunday, January 9 -  Sunday Services begin at 9:30 AM
Followed by the Great Blessing of Water

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Tuesday, December 21, 2010



    St Frumentius Theological College, Post Box 1444, Makele, Tigray, Ethiopia.

    While some Orthodox Christians (Ethiopian Church, et al) still celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord according to the Julian calendar, which places December 25 thirteen days later -- on January 7 -- most Orthodox Christians (Malankara Orthodox Church, etc.) in the world observe the feast according to the Revised Julian calendar, which places the Nativity on December 25.

    Why are there two days for celebrating Christmas?

    Christmas is always celebrated on December 25! But which day is December 25?

    Some Orthodox celebrate Christmas on December 25 of the older calendar (Julian calendar), some celebrate on December 25 of the revised calendar (Gregorian calendar). December 25 in the Julian calendar is January 7 of the Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar is named after Julius Caesar. The Gregorian calendar is named after Pope Gregory.

    The Julian calendar has a leap year every 4 years. The current Gregorian Calendar does not have a leap year in those years ending in “00” where the hundreds-part is not divisible by 5 -- and thus 1900, 2100, 2200 ... etc., are not leap years. In both calendars the year 2000 is a leap year.

    The Gregorian calendar (sometimes called the Revised Julian Calendar) was adopted as the secular calendar in 1585 in parts of Western Europe, in 1753 in England and North America, and 1923 in Russia.

    For example, George Washington (1789-1797) was born on February 11 old calendar (i.e., before 1753). That is why his birthday is celebrated on February 22 (“Presidents Day”, new calendar). In his times, the difference between the old and new calendars was 11 days.

    The two days when Christmas is celebrated drift apart an extra three days every 400 years. December 25 in the Julian calendar becomes January 8 in the Gregorian calendar starting in the year 2100.

    ADDITIONAL NOTE (by Fr John Brian): Our sister Armenian Church celebrates a combined Holy Day of Christmas and Epiphany on January 6. In addition, the Coptic calendar (and thereby the Ethiopian/Eritrean calendars) has an interval exception when Christmas is celebrated on the “Gregorian” January 6th, still the equivalent of December 25.

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Friday, December 17, 2010

    One Man's Advent Reflection

    From: gregorios20039
    Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010
    Subject: One Man's Advent Reflection

    First, much of this has been said before and better. Second, I write for
    myself and for no one else. And finally, I write from the perspective of an
    apartment in the cold snow-blanketed American Mid-west, in a country where
    Orthodox Christians are an inconspicuous minority. Your country, climate,
    customs and calendar may be very different. Indeed, I hope that much of
    them are.

    Today, feeling truly sick in body as well as a bit in mind and spirit, I was
    forced to slow down and reflect on the ancient wisdom of the Church in this
    season. The holiday invitations I got in my e-mail did not make me feel any
    better. This season is not Christmas, it is Advent. The Church has wisely
    designated this time as weeks of fasting and spiritual preparation.
    In Holy Tradition, with many local variations, the celebration of the
    Christmas season lasts for 12 days, from the Feast of the Holy Nativity
    (Christ Mass) until the celebration of the visit of the Three Kings or Wise
    Men from the East and the celebration of Christ's baptism in the Jordon,
    where a dove descended on Him and a voice cried out from heaven saying, "You
    are my beloved Son." Christmas is linked to Epiphany, God's revelation in
    the world. The Christmas season and celebration begins on the night of the
    Holy Nativity.

    In modern America, however, the Christmas decorations go out on store
    shelves by Halloween (at the end of October). The next big holiday is
    American Thanksgiving, the last Thursday in November (a feast rightly
    celebrating God's abundant harvest and true human friendship). The merchants
    launch the Christmas season the day after Thanksgiving, when shoppers take
    off like racers out of the starting gate, requiring special provisions at
    some stores to handle the crowds. This is followed by a round of parties
    sponsored by nearly every business and organization, secular and religious,
    plying us with abundant food and drink, extra-ordinarily high in calories,
    sugar, salt, dairy, meat, and alcohol. (This in a society where few of us do
    manual labor in the cold and our number one health problem is how we eat-to
    the point that average American lifespan is falling--and our doctors are
    telling us to reduce calories, sugar, salt, dairy, meat, and alcohol for the
    preservation of our physical lives!)

    Then by afternoon on Christmas Day, and certainly the day after that, on the
    Feast of St. Steven, drivers will start to see Christmas trees, shorn of
    their ornaments, dumped forlornly on the street curb. Christmas is done and
    over. Then follows the big emotional let down, millions of people depressed
    in the darkest coldest days of winter.

    And Christmas Day, The Big Day, was never like that in the wonderful sugary
    scenes depicted on Christmas cards that Americans exchange in such abundance
    it overloads our postal system. Instead, Christmas reminded my father of
    the death of the sister who raised him; this Christmas may be my mother's
    last on this earth. That is not just my story. That is the true Christmas
    story of every household.

    So how do we Orthodox Christians in lands that are not predominantly
    Orthodox Christian keep ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually
    healthy? 1) I am not going to every party I have been invited to. 2) We are
    bidden by Holy Scripture to fast in private, going out in good clothes, our
    skin oiled. I intend to dress up, put on my skin moisturizer, be the good
    guest, accept one little piece offered and eat it with joy and gratitude,
    and no more. 3) I am intending to keep my home and business life as simple
    as possible-that is an even greater challenge in fasting than in food. If I
    do not do that, I become physically ill. 4) I am giving some time to
    spiritual reflection and seeking opportunities to assist those who have less
    than I do.

    And then, 5) during The Great Twelve Days of Christmas, when my friends are
    caught in the winter gloom of cold, snow, darkness and emotional let-down,
    invite them to celebrate with me the Christmas season as the Holy Church in
    its great wisdom as taught us to do, lighting one small candle in the

    Let us remember one another in our prayers.
    Geoffrey Gyrisco
    Member of Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission

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  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Thursday, December 09, 2010

    Orthodoxy and Mission in State Capitol

    We have a table display in the Wisconsin State Capitol building through Friday, December 10, 2010. The two themes of our display are "Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Mission" on the left (white background) and "What is Orthodox Christianity?" on the right (dark background).  Literature and icon cards are made available to anyone along with information on Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the faith and the practice as well as our current chapel schedule.  Teresa Kochamma re-furbished an older display of Orthodox Churches in Wisconsin that was used in previous years.  This installation is part of Interfaith Awareness Week in Wisconsin and is part of the displays of world religions in the Capitol for the week. There is another group's display next to Holy Transfiguration's. All around the rotunda, around the "Holiday Tree" that graces the capitol every year, are other religious group displays as well. At noon on Friday, December 10, 2010, there will be an event there and Fr John Brian is introducing the key note speaker, Dr Charles Cohen, director of the Lubar Institute for the Study of Abrahamic Religions.

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian
  • Wednesday, December 01, 2010

    Prayer for the Nativity Lent.

    Prayer for the Nativity Lent

    O our Lord Jesus Messiah, the Son of God who was born of Woman and had bruised the head of the evil Serpent, and was seen as the son of Abraham on the earth and had opened the doors of mercy for all generations of the world!

    Accept this lent fast that we observe to the glory of the feast of Thy Nativity like the offerings of the kings from the East. Together with the angels who adored Thee at Bethlehem on the day of Thy Condescension and with the humble shepherds who bowed down before Thee in their simplicity, make us worthy to offer worship to Thy Worthiness on the holy Christmas day.

    By Thy enlightening light of Truth, on this ephemeral era of Thy first advent in meekness, help us to live a life adorned with the garments of light leaving aside all forces of darkness. Thus, O our Lord and God! May we be risen up for eternal life on Thy glorious second coming and along with Thy Holy Mother and all saints and angels to raise praises to the majesty of the Holy Trinity!


    (from Fr George in Ireland)

  • Holy Transfiguration Publications: books by Fr John Brian