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Nativity of the Lord God and Saviour Jesus Christ

January 6 2006

Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, born of the Virgin Mary during the reign of Emperor Augustus (Octavius) in the city of Bethlehem. August commanded to do nation-wide census in the whole of his empire, to which then and Palestine.

The Jews had the custom of the people to the census according to their tribes, tribes and genera, every knee, and the family had their own specific cities and Patriarchal place, because Blessed Virgin and the righteous Joseph, as happens on the lineage of David, had to go to Bethlehem (the city of David) to and make their names in the list of subjects of Caesar. In Bethlehem, they have already found no free space in city hotels. In the limestone cave, designed to stall, among the hay and straw scattered for cattle feed and bedding, away from the residence, among strangers, on a cold winter's night, in an environment devoid of not only the world's greatness, but even the usual amenities - born Godman , the Savior of the world.

"Mystery of the strange and glorious vizhdu - was surprised to chant the holy Church - Sky - den; See cherubic - Virgo; nursery - a container in which the same reclining nevmestimy Christ the Lord" (heirmos the 9 th ode of the canon). Painless birth to the Divine Child Virgin Mary, herself, without assistance, "povit and put it in a manger" (Luke 2).

But among the midnight silence, when all mankind obyato was profoundly sinful sleep, the news of the Nativity of the Savior of the world heard the shepherds who were on night guard at his herd. They brought the angel of the Lord and said: "Fear not: behold, preach the gospel to you show great joy, which is shed will all lyudem, Thou Saviour is born to you this day, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David, and the humble shepherds were awarded the first worship for the salvation of the people to Snisshedshemu "Rabia SPAR. In addition to the angelic proclamation of Bethlehem shepherds wonderful Christmas star was told the Magi "zvezdoslovtsam, and in the face of Oriental sages whole pagan world, invisible to himself - bowed their knees before the true Savior of the world, God-man. Entering in houses where the child was, the Magi - "fallen worshiped him, and opened his own treasures, prinssosha him gifts: gold and frankincense and myrrh" (Mt 2, 11).

In remembrance of the Nativity in the flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ established the Church holiday. Start it relates to the time of the Apostles. In the Apostolic Constitutions says:

"Keep, brethren, the days of public holidays, and during the first day of Christmas, which let you celebrate in 25 days desyatago months (from March). There, in another place says: "Christmas Day so celebrate in onzhe Nechaev grace given to man by the birth of God's Word of the Virgin Mary to save the world."

In the II century on Christmas Day on December 25 indicates St. Clement of Alexandria. In III century the feast of Christmas, how about the former first mentions St. Hippolytus of Rome, assigning reading from the Gospel that day from a chapter of Matthew. It is known that during the persecution of Christians, Maximian, in 302 year Nicomedia Christians in the feast of Christmas were burned in the temple in the number of 20000.

In the same century, when the church after the persecution was religious freedom, and became dominant in the Roman Empire, the feast of the Nativity we find throughout the universal Church, as you can see it from the teachings of St. Ephrem the Syrian, St. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Ambrose, John Chrysostom and other Fathers of the Church IV century on the Christmas holiday.St. John Chrysostom in his speech, which he said in 385, calls the Christmas holiday ancient and very ancient.

In the same century in place of the cave of Bethlehem, celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, the Equal of the Apostles Helena built a temple, the splendor of which many tried to sovereign her son. The Code of Theodosius, published in the year 438, and Justinian - 535, set out the law of the universal celebration of the Nativity of Christ. In this sense, perhaps, Nicephorus Callistus, the writer of the XIV century, in his history says that the Emperor Justinian in the VI century, set to celebrate Christmas all over the earth.

In the V century, Anatoly, the patriarch of Constantinople, in the VII - Sophrony and Andrew of Jerusalem, in the VIII - St. John Damascene, Cosmas Maium and German, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the IX - the nun Cassia and others, whose names are unknown, written to celebrate Christmas, many sacred chants that are used now for the glorification of the Church of Light celebrated the event.

However, in the first three centuries, when the persecution hampered the freedom of Christian worship, in some places in the Orient - the Church of Jerusalem. Antioch, Alexandria and Cyprus - a holiday of Christmas was connected with the Epiphany on January 6, under the name of the Epiphany. The reason for this was probably the view that Christ was baptized on his birthday, as you can conclude this from the words of St. John Chrysostom, who in one interview in his Christmas says: "not a day that Christ was born, called the Epiphany but one in which he was baptized. "

Such views could apply the words of the Evangelist Luke, who, speaking of the baptism of Jesus Christ, testifies that while "Jesus Be Thou tridesyat years" (Luke 3, 23). Celebrating Christmas with Epiphany in some eastern churches continued until the end of IV century, the other - to V or even VI century. Monument of the ancient compound holidays of Christmas and Epiphany in the Orthodox Church to this day serves as a perfect likeness in the administration of these holidays. One and the other precedes Christmas Eve, with the same folk tradition that on Christmas Eve must fast until the stars. The rite of worship on the eve of both holidays and holidays in the most absolutely identical.

Christmas Day anciently canonized by the Church to the great feasts, according to the divine testimony of the Gospel, depicting the celebrated event is the greatest, vseradostneishim and wonderful. "Behold the gospel to you - the angel said to the shepherds of Bethlehem - show great joy, which is shed will all lyudem. Yako is born to you Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And suddenly you a sign: ye shall find the Infant povita, lezhascha a manger.

Then a sudden byst with a lot of howling heavenly angel, praising God and saying: Glory to God, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Ye all heard about Diviš spake from pastors about rozhdshemsya Savior, the shepherds themselves vozvratishasya, and glorifying God for all hvalyasche, which is shed slyshasha and Videsh "(Lk 2, 10 - 20). Since Christmas, as an event of supreme emergency and, accompanied by the wondrous tidings shepherds and wise men of the world of joy for all people, "like Christ is born", angelic hymns born Savior, the shepherds, and worship him, the Magi. reverent astonishment of many who heard the words of pastors born Otrochati, glorifying and praising Him from the pastors.

oglasno with the divine testimony of the Gospel, the Church Fathers in their God-enlightened writings portray the Christmas holiday great, universal and joyous, which is the beginning and the foundation for all other celebrations.

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