Orthodox Christmas 2007

MERRY CHRISTMAS! PEACE ON EARTH!

Although the term “Christian” is recorded as first being used in Antioch, the first center of the Church was in Jerusalem and the first Believers were Egyptian, during what is called the “Flight into Egypt”.

When Emperor Constantine called for a clarification of Christian Beliefs and the many divergent views of Christianity were formalized, Alexandria, Antioch, Constantinople, Jerusalem and Rome became the primary centers of Christianity. Rome later broke away but the others remained Orthodox.

When the Western World adopted the Gregorian Calendar, the Orthodox Church continued to use the Julian and today is therefore Christmas Eve for Orthodox Christians. Armenia became officially Christian before the reign of Constantine; the Armenian Church continues to operate independently and follows the Gregorian Calendar.

Related Links >
The Orthodox Church >
http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/catechism_ext.htm

The Orthodox Church: New Edition(Paperback) > http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Church-New-Timothy-Ware/dp/0140146563

The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation(photo source) > http://www.hcef.org

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem > http://www.holylight.gr/patria/enpatria.html

Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople > http://www.ec-patr.org

The Christian Coptic Orthodox Church Of Egypt > http://www.coptic.net/EncyclopediaCoptica

Merry Christmas > http://www.unobserver.com/index.php?pagina=layout5.php&id=2991&blz=1

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Repairing broken snow globes

Christmas Season is over. You enjoyed some great time having guests at home. However, it may be possible that you encountered some slight problems, such as one of your guests or their child, accidentally dropped your fave snow globe and it seems that it is broken. Is it possible to repair a cracked snow globe you may ask.

Well, a broken snow globe is not easy to mend, but if you have an antique or sentimentally valuable piece, it may be worthwhile to enlist the help of a professional who can fix it for you. A snow globe usually consists of figurines encapsulated in a glass or plastic sphere. This globe is filled with a mixture of distilled water and glycerin, which helps the glittery “snow” float, and attached to a base.

Since the late 19th century, when snow globes were first produced, the snow has been made of ground rice, bone, ceramic or porcelain, and the figures fashioned from bisque, stone or metal. These days, the snow is more likely to be composed of granular plastic pieces, which are textured to aid buoyancy, simple plastic glitter is used in inexpensive models. The majority of today’s figures are also plastic.

Most modern glass globes are as thin as eggshells and will probably shatter if dropped, says a snow-globe repair specialist. Vintage globes have slightly thicker glass and aren’t quite as fragile.

For about $15 to $50, professionals, search online to find one, can replace a glass globe, add new snow, refill liquid that has evaporated or become cloudy, and so on. However, have in mind that plastic globes cannot usually be repaired. More extensive fixes, such as repairing chipped figures, will be pricier.

Three Kings Day Has A Long, Royal History

By tradition, the visit of the Three Kings to the manger occurred on January 6, and this has become an important feast day on the Christian calendar. Names for this holiday include Epiphany, Twelfth Night, Little Christmas, Old Christmas and Three Kings Day.

The visit of the three resplendent monarchs is reported in the Bible only by St. Matthew, who, in the Greek of the New Testament, calls them “Magoi apo Anatolon” literally, “Magi from the East.” “Magi” and its singular form “magus” come from the Old Persian “magus” sorcerer, the same root that gives us our word “magic.”

English translations of the Bible rendered the Greek “Magoi apo Anatolon” as “Wise Men from the East”, and as early as the sixth century, they were being referred to as “Kings.”

The origins of the individual names of the Magi, Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar, are a mystery. Variants of these names for the Three Kings first appeared in the 600s, but we don’t know why or by whom they were chosen.

Gaspar (or Caspar, or Kaspar) was said to be the ruler of Tarsus. Balthasar was the ruler of Ethiopia, which is why he is often portrayed as dark-skinned, and Melchior was the ruler of Nubia and Arabia.

Each of the three kings was thought to represent a stage of life: Gaspar, a tall, ruddy and beardless youth; Balthasar, a swarthy and bearded middle-aged man; and Melchior, a wizened sage with a long beard.

During the Middle Ages in many parts of Europe, groups of boys would roam the streets on Epiphany singing carols and staging pageants involving the Magi. Often they would mark the houses they visited with crosses and the initials of the Three Kings – “K,” “M” and “B” – to protect these dwellings from harm during the coming year.

“Epiphany,” derived from the Greek root “phainein” (to bring to light), denotes a sudden revelation or manifestation. This same root lights up “emphasis,” “fantasy,” “diaphanous” and “sychophant” (someone who brings his smarmy flattery to light).

January 6 is called “Epiphany” because this date is associated with three key manifestations of Christ’s deity: the adoration of the Wise Men, his baptism with the voice from Heaven proclaiming his identity, and his first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee.

In a secular sense, “epiphany” has come to mean any sudden revelation of light or truth, often with a religious or spiritual overtone.

Another name for Epiphany, “Twelfth Night” is actually a misnomer. If you want to count days, the twelfth night of Christmas is January 5. Indeed, according to Ecclesiastical Order, the “First Vespers” of Epiphany are held after sunset on that date. But by tradition, Twelfth Night is celebrated at sunset January 6, technically the 13th night of Christmas.

Twelfth night will end the Christmas season

Although Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are past, the Christmas season continues until the 12th day after. This day is known as the Epiphany.

It will fall on January 6 and is considered the climax of the Christmas season. Twelfth Night is a Christian religious tradition and is not to be confused with Shakespeare’s play of the same name.

The Day commemorates the revelation of Jesus as the Christ to the Gentiles in the persons of the Magi (the Three Wise Men) and the baptism of the infant Jesus. The important word here is “revelation” since it means the appearance or manifestation of a god, a divine being, or a moment of sudden intuitive understanding, or an experience which reveals such a moment.

Thus it was with the Three Wise Men who followed the star to Bethlehem to deliver gifts to the infant, Jesus, thus acknowledging Him as the Christ and the Son of God. The Three Wise Men came from the Orient, identified as the current Iran and other lands in that area, to deliver gifts which had important symbolisms.

Melchior, the senior of the trio, presented gold as his gift, Gaspar offered incense, while Balthasar gave myrrh, a fragrant resin obtained from plants in his home area. By the delivery of these gifts, the Three Wise Men paid homage to the Christ child. Their names are inscribed in the history of the Christian Church and are always mentioned during the Christmas season.

The end of the Epiphany period is celebrated in various ways in different cultures. There are feasts, gift giving, tree burning rituals and other symbolic rituals. One is the placing of shoes under the tree, signifying a journey. Visitations to friends and family members are also made.

Songs, lyrics, essays, and poems have been written to celebrate the Christmas period. The most popular poem is “The Night Before Christmas,” when “all through the house, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse.” This reveals the traditional feelings about the Christmas season for children with parents smiling smugly. This starts the season.

Another song, written in 1857 by an American minister, John H. Hopkins Jr., starts with “We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar, field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star. O star of wonder, star of light, star with royal beauty bright, westward leading, still proceeding, guide us to thy perfect light.”

Other words refer to the gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh and the reasons why the gift was appropriate. The song was sung at a Christmas pageant led by Hopkins. It soon became a standard tune in the Christmas repertoire.

The Magi are men of mystery, hard to accurately identify. They apparently did come from the Orient, but were of a different religion. Later, they were baptized into Christianity and spent time spreading the words of the Gospel. Another part of the mystery is that their purported remains were brought to Constantinople, then to Milan, and finally to a cathedral in Cologne, Germany.

After a short time comes Ash Wednesday, the forty days of Lent, then Good Friday, Easter, and the other Christian periods of worship. Epiphany ends one period at the start of the year and then leads into the others.

The Christian Calendar > How a Pope fixed the Calendar

The Calendar of the Christian world began a century before Jesus Christ, by Roman Emperor Julius Ceasar.

This Julian calendar introduced the notion of leap years, however, there were too many and by 1582, the calendar was ten days out of sync with seasons, and this would only become worse.

The name of the current Calendar: The Gregorian Calendar bears its name due to Pope Gregory XIII. He suggested to drop out three leap years in every four hundred years. The calendar will not fall out of step until 5000 AD. A small fix, will keep it in tune until 15000 AD.

Time and Date – Excellent resource for Time.

The holidays explained

Posted On December 13, 2006

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The Greek Origin of Xmas

Where did Xmas come from?

Some transliterations of Greek spell Christos (Jesus Christ) as Xristos. The “X” stood in for Christos.

While in modern times we regard Xmas as a kind of slang, it was originally considered to be a perfectly respectful abbreviation, especially as it included a form of the cross in the shape of the “X”.

UPDATED December 2009 >

The word “Christmas” is often abbreviated to “Xmas”, the “X” being an uppercase Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of “Christos” in Greek. The abbreviation is widely but not universally accepted, some view it as demeaning to the name of Christ.

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