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Feast Days

The holy days of the Eastern Orthodox Church are divided into two categories: the major or great feast days that commemorate events in the lives of Christ and the Theotokos; and holy days that commemorate the various events in the lives of the saints.

It is known from the Gospels that the time of the death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ was during the time of the celebration of the Jewish feast of Passover, which is calculated according to the Old Testament lunar calendar. The Church fathers used the same calculations to produce the Paschal cycle, therefore, all the feasts connected with Pascha are movable. All others are celebrated on a specific date and are called immovable feasts.

The immovable great feasts are: the Nativity of the Theotokos (8/21 September), the Elevation of the Cross (September 14/27), the Presentation of the Theotokos in the Temple (November 21/December 4), the Nativity of Christ (December 25/January 7), Theophany (January 6/19), the Presentation of Christ in the Temple (February 2/15), the Annunciation (March 25/April 7), the Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6/19), and the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15/28).

The movable great feasts are: Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem, Ascension of our Lord, Pentecost, and Pascha.

The Church calendar begins with the Nativity of the Theotokos celebrated on August 26/September 8. This holy day corresponds closely to the date of the Jewish New Year, which to the Hebrews signified the beginning of a new era in their lives. Similarly the early Church, which generally followed the Old Testament celebrations of the Hebrews, proclaimed the new Christian era by announcing to the world the birth of the Holy Virgin Mary. She was to be the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, by His birth was to bring a new era into the world - the era of Christianity.

Holy feast days are not just to remember the past. By participating in these feasts each believer draws closer to the experience of the Holy Church, and follows its leadership. Each Christian soul relives the great events of the Gospels and of Church history, and in this way goes through a school of spiritual growth.

Pascha - The Resurrection of Our Lord
Nativity of the Theotokos
Elevation of the Holy Cross
Entrance of the Theotokos Into the Temple
Nativity of the Lord
Presentation of the Lord
Palm Sunday - Entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem
Ascension of Our Lord
Pentecost - Descent of the Holy Spirit
Transfiguration of Our Lord
Dormition of the Theotokos

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OFFSITE: The Great Feast Days of the Orthodox Church - Original, unaltered article.
OFFSITE: Photography of Fr. Dionisy