Orthodox Church celebrates Church New Year Sept. 1
The first day of the Church New Year is also called the beginning of the Indiction. The term Indiction comes from a Latin word meaning, “to impose.” It was originally applied to the imposition of taxes in Egypt. The first worldwide Indiction was in 312 when the Emperor Constantine (May 21) saw a miraculous vision of the Cross in the sky. Before the introduction of the Julian calendar, Rome began the New Year on September 1.
According to Holy Tradition, Christ entered the synagogue on September 1 to announce His mission to mankind (Luke 4:16-22). Quoting Isaiah 61:1-2), the Savior proclaimed, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me; because He has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to proclaim release to captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord…” This scene is depicted in a Vatican manuscript (Vatican, Biblioteca. Cod. Gr. 1613, p.1).
Message from St. George Orthodox Church
Dear Saint George Church Family,
Christ in our midst! He is and ever shall be!
September 1st, the Orthodox Church commemorates the Beginning of the Indiction, that is, the Ecclesiastical (Church) New Year. Happy New Year!
Prayer for the Beginning of the New Year
O Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of all things, who by Thy authority has established the times and the seasons, who provides us with rain and the abundance of the fruits of the earth, and who hears the prayers of those who humbly seek Thee, accept also our requests about our needs and concerns and deliver us from every worry, danger, and sin. Thy mercy is as abundant as thy works. Bless all our activities, direct our steps by Thy Holy Spirit, and forgive our sins. O Lord, bless the beginning of our New Year with Thy goodness and make it a year of grace for all of us. Preserve us in peace through the prayers of Thy Most Holy Mother, the Theotokos, and of all Thy Saints. Amen
God bless you and may this new year be a new opportunity to strengthen our commitment to Christ!
For more information on the Church New Year, please read below:
Before the Greek (or Constantinopolitan) Indiction was introduced by St. Constantine the Great in 312 and decreed by the Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council in Nicaea (325 A.D.), the day of Indiction varied based on local tradition. The word Indiction is birthed from the Latin word meaning to proclaim. It established the annual land tax to support the needs of the empire and its armed forces and was issued for 15-year cycles.
It was the month of September when the harvest was gathered and thanksgiving offered to God (see Exodus 23:16), a festival connected to the Saviour’s entry into the synagogue in Nazareth whose passage from the Gospel of St. Luke (4:16-22) is read on September 1st.
It was also the month of September when St. Constantine, through the power of the Holy Cross, defeated Maxentius and granted Christians freedom of confession.
Today, the month of September continues to be the time of harvest for farmers, in addition to ushering in the start of the school year.
The Biblical-based traditions and Church customs regarding the Ecclesiastical New Year continue to be honoured, especially by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Each year, on September 1st, members of the Holy and Sacred Synod, led by the Ecumenical Patriarch (currently His All-Holiness, Bartholomew), gather at the Patriarchal Church of St. George the Great Martyr in the Phanar to concelebrate the Divine Liturgy, venerate the Holy Panagia Pammakaristos Icon and proclaim the New Year. They also sign the Patriarchal and Synodal Tome for the Indictus, an ancient practice dating back to the time of Constantine the Great (+337).
More recently, the entire Orthodox Church, led by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, has declared September 1st as a day of prayer for the preservation of God’s creation and the protection of the natural environment.
Your father in Christ,
Father Fouad Saba
Saint George Church
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Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.
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