Monday, September 1, 2014

Christian Orthodox New Year

 The 1st of September is traditionally considered to be the beginning of the Christian Orthodox Year, known as the beginning of the Indiktou (αρχή της Ινδίκτου), which derives from the Latin word ‘indictio’, meaning declaration, i.e. the beginning of the ecclesiastical year. The term derives from the habit of the Roman emperors to define the amount of the annual tax for fifteen years, which they received during this time of the year in order to preserve the army. Therefore, these fifteen years periods were named indictio, beginning with Caesar Augustus, three years before the birth of Christ. Due to the fact that September is harvest season and preparation season for a new period of vegetation, it is only fitting for the Christians to celebrate the beginning of the agricultural season, giving thanks to God for his favour and grace towards creation.

Saint Nicodemus the Agiorite writes in his Synaxaristis that: “we should know, my brothers, that Christ’s Church celebrates today the Indiktionas for three reasons. Firstly, because it is the first of the year; wherefore this was celebrated honourably by the old Romans. Indiction according to the roman, i.e. the latin language, means declaration. Secondly, the Church celebrates it because according to this day our Lord Jesus Christ went into the synagogue of the Jews, and was given the book of Isiah, according to the Evangelist Luke (Luke 4). When he opened the book, he miraculously found the passage, from the 61st chapter of Isaiah, where the following is written: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the borkenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptance year of the Lord.” When he said these words, he closed the book. Then, sitting down, he said to the people, ‘that today the words of the Prophecy, which you heard, have taken place’. The people were amazed by his graceful words, as written by the Evangelist Luke.

There is also a third reason, by which the Church of Christ celebrates today the Indikto, and celebrates the beginning of the year: i.e. it is through the chantings and supplications, which we offer to God during this celebration, God becomes a noble (philanthropist) unto us, and blesses the new year, and grants it to us with happiness and full of all the bodily assets. And He enlightens our minds, in order to spend all of the year purely and with a benevolent conscience, and to please God, by keeping His commandments. And so to receive the Heavenly eternal virtues”.   

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