September 1st is the beginning of a new Church year for Byzantines. What are your plans for growing your faith this year? And what does a new year really mean for the church?
September 1st: A History
Beginning of the Indiction, i.e. the Liturgical New Year
September 1st seems an odd time to start a New Year in the church. In fact, in the Western Church, the new church year begins after the feast of Christ the King with the beginning of Advent (the season of preparation for the Nativity of Christ). However, in the East we base our new church year on the first day of an Indiction year. This comes from the Roman empire, which set the Indiction (from indico, “to mark” or “put a value on”) as a new tax cycle. Originally, September 24th was the beginning of the year. This changed before the end of the fifth century, when the eastern parts of the Roman Empire used September 1st as the start date instead.
Some traditions also point to this coinciding with the Emperor Constantine’s miraculous vision which lead him to victory in hoc signo of the Holy Cross.
September 1st is also significant to us because we believe it is the date of Christ began his public ministry in the Gospel of Mark 1 :14-15. This is derived from the fact that the Church commemorates the Beheading of Jphn the Baptizer and Forerunner on August 29, after which Christ is recorded as having started his Galilean public ministry in the Markian account.
Troparion: (tone 2)
Fashioner of all creation, you fixed the times and seasons by your own authority. Bless the crown of the year O Lord, with your goodness, preserve our nation and Your city in peace, and save us through the prayers of the Mother of God.
Kontakion: (tone 2)
You dwell on high, O Christ our King, Creator and Builder of all that is seen and unseen. You made the seasons, time, day, and night. Now bless the crown of the present year, guard and protect our country, this city, and your people O Lord, so rich in mercy.
How to Celebrate
Make a New Year in Faith Resolution. Here are some ideas I came up with:
- Build and/or Grow Icon Corner
- Make it to church at least twice a week
- Give yourself an hour retreat every week/weekend
- Byzantine Prayer Practices
- Spiritual Reading
- Making Faith Visible throughout your home
- icon and or cross in every room
- decorate your home to match church seasons
I am sure there are a lot more great ways to celebrate the new liturgical year! Let me know if you have any ideas in the comments.
The Byzantine Life
Thank you for checking out this week’s article. If you haven’t already, you can read our article about the feast celebrating the icon of the Face of God. Or our article on ways to make Sunday a day of rest.
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