In our Church Christ is the central figure of our faith and lives. The Church throughout the year has numerous feastdays in order to celebrate the events that relate to the earthly life of our Lord, our Lady Theotokos and the Saints of the Church.
These Feastdays are called Despotic, Theometoric or Feastdays of Saints.
We call Despotic Feastdays, those which are related to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some of these feastdays are movable and some are fixed. When we refer to fixed feastdays we mean those that occur on the same month and date each year. Some of these are:
We also have the movable Despotic feasts which are:
These Despotic feast days are all depend on Easter. Just as Easter is not celebrated on the same day each year neither are these feasts.
These feast days that occur before or after Easter depend on the date that Easter is celebrated. The date for Easter is calculated by a set formula and then the other dates fall into place.
For example Palm Sunday is always one week before Easter Day, the Ascension marks the end of the 40 days that The Resurrected Christ spent with His disciples and others before ascending to the Father in Heaven.
The Pentecost as its very name suggests, occurs 50 days after Easter or 10 days after the Ascension - here Jesus' promise that He will send the Comfortor to guide the disciples and the Church in His earthly absence is fulfilled.
FEASTS OF THE MOTHER OF GOD
Apart from the Despotic feasts, we also have the Feasts of the Mother of God. They are given this name because they relate to some event that we celebrate from the life of the Mother of God. These are:
Finally, we have the Feastsdays of the Saints; the martyrs of our Church; the apostles; the evangelists (that is those who wrote the 4 gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John); the hierarchs (the leaders and bishops of our Church) the Holy Fathers of our Church; the prophets; the angels and archangels.
THE PURPOSE OF THE FEASTS
The purpose of all the Feasts of our Church is to help us feel and understand the importance of the Despotic, Theomitoric and other Feast Days.
When we celebrate the Saints of our Church we are inspired by their examples and we ask them to intercede on our behalf to God for our spiritual welfare.
HOW SHOULD WE CELEBRATE THESE IMPORTANT FEAST DAYS OF OUR FAITH
To deepen our understanding of Feast Days by:-
* regularly attending the Holy Eucharist Services.
* studying the particular Despotic or Theomitoric event or studying the Saint's life whose feast we celebrate.
* honouring and imitating the Saint's life or event that we celebrate in a spirit consistent with the life and Holy example of those events or Saints.
At times there is great misunderstanding in the way that these Holy events are celebrated. It is disrespectful and a grave sin to celebrate such Holy events in ways that are not consistent with our Christian identity. Let young and old ensure that they celebrate these feasts of our Church in a proper manner.
These feasts give us excellent
opportunities to participate in the Life of Worship in our Church.