Дорогі у Христі Ісусі браття і сестри!
This Saturday’s Cantoring Skills workshop focuses our attention on two Great Feasts in the Orthodox calendar: Різдво по плоті Господа Бога і Спаса нашого Ісуса Христа / The Nativity in the flesh of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ; and the Feast with which the Nativity is inextricably linked: Святе Богоявлення — Хрещення Господа Бога і Спаса нашого Ісуса Христа / Holy Theophany — the Baptism of our Lord, God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
In the ancient Church, The Nativity and Theophany (from the Greek:θεοφάνεια, “appearance of God”) were celebrated together, on one and the same day. It is thought that the separation between the two Feasts occurred first in the Western tradition — and that in the 4th century, the Holy Fathers of the Eastern Church, considering it good that all Christendom celebrate the Birth of our Saviour together, permitted the separation of the feasts that we know today. Though Theophany falls later in the calendar year and appears to mirror the services at the Nativity, it is interesting to note that the Nativity services were established at a later date.
Originally, there was just one Christian feast of the shining forth of God to the world in the human form of Jesus of Nazareth. It included the celebration of Christ’s birth, the adoration of the wise men, and all of the childhood events of Christ such as his circumcision and presentation to the temple as well as his baptism by John in the Jordan. There seems to be little doubt that this feast, like Pascha and Pentecost, was understood as the fulfillment of a previous Jewish festival, in this case the Feast of Lights.
Though Nativity and Theophany are undeniably joyous celebrations and received in this way by Christians everywhere, they are also cause for personal reflection and, in their own way, call us to prepare body and soul for the “Feasts of Feasts”. A Child is born — the earth rejoices — but we know this Child’s journey, and we recognize in His path our own disgrace.
There is a rather beautiful Ukrainian Nativity carol in the form of a lullaby that illustrates this idea. It begins with gentle, cooing verses to the Newborn Jesus:
Спи, Ісусе, спи,
Я Тебе ’Му колисати,
Спи, Ісусе, спи серденько,
Спи, Ісусе, спи.
‘Tis a great pity that most people never make it past the second or third verse. We are left with a scene from a Christmas card: a young Mother and Child, bathed in warmth and light. If we went just a little distance further, we might come to discover — and reflect on — our place in the portrait:
Спи, Терпіннє спи,
Не питай, що колись буде,
Що зготовлять Ти Хрест люди.
Спи, Ісусе, спи невинний,
Спи, Ісусе, спи!
The perils of abridgement.
Pray for us.
- A. Welcome and Introduction
- B. Vocal Warm-up
- C. Special Nativity/Theophany services:
- • Great Compline
- • Royal Hours
- • Vesperal Liturgies
- • Jordan Waterblessing
- D. Prokiemens of the 8 tones
- E. Intoning Prokiemens and Alleluia
- F. How to read in Church
- G. Velychannia/Magnifications
- H. Review Vesperal service
- Vespers in Church
The Cantoring Skills Workshops begin promptly at 1:00pm on one Saturday every month from September, 2013 to June, 2014, at the Ukrainian Orthodox Sobor of St. Demetrius, on Lakeshore Blvd. West, in Etobicoke:
Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Demetrius
3338 Lakeshore Blvd. West