Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS AND IS AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ. ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑ
[The following is the Office of Thanksgiving at the New Year]
Priest: Blessed is the Kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages.
Reader: O come, let us worship God our King. O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ, and our God. O come, let us worship and fall down before the Very Christ, our King and our God. O come, let us worship and fall down before Him.
Praise is awaiting You, O God, in Zion; And to You the vow shall be performed. O You Who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come. Iniquities prevail against me; As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.
Blessed is the man You choose, And cause to approach You, That he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, Of Your holy temple. By awesome deeds in righteousness You will answer us, O God of our salvation, You who are the confidence of all the ends of the earth, And of the far-off seas; Who established the mountains by His strength, Being clothed with power; You Who still the noise of the seas, The noise of their waves, And the tumult of the peoples. They also who dwell in the farthest parts are afraid of Your signs; You make the outgoings of the morning and evening rejoice. You visit the earth and water it, You greatly enrich it; The river of God is full of water; You provide their grain, For so You have prepared it. You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows; You make it soft with showers, You bless its growth.
You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip with abundance. They drop on the pastures of the wilderness, And the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with
flocks; The valleys also are covered with grain; They shout for joy, they also sing.
[The psalmist prays for those who have been fruitless, and have become full of good harvest through their faith in God. In itself, the psalm is unusual in that it starts with a theme of salvation and worship (vv. 1-4) and ends with a section on God and creation (vv. 5-13)--two almost separate themes. In the Orthodox Church, v.4 is used often in prayers for the departed, and for their rest in a place of peace.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Glory to Thee, O God (Thrice.)
Then the Priest or Deacon offer the Litany:
In peace let us pray to the Lord. ---(Chanter chants Lord, have mercy after all the petitions.) For the peace that is from above, and for the salvation of our souls: For the peace of the whole world; for the welfare of God's Holy Churches, and for the union of all: For this holy Temple, and for those who with faith, devoutness, and in the fear of God have entered therein: For Archbishop (Metropolitan) Iakovos; for the honorable Presbytery, the Diaconate in Christ; for all the clergy and the laity: That He will aid them in all things, and subdue under their feet all nations who are hateful unto Christ, and every foe and adversary: For this city, and for every city and land, and for those who with faith dwell therein: That he will graciously accept this present thanksgiving and supplication of us unworthy sinners on His Most Heavenly Altar, and in His compassion have mercy upon us: That our prayers may be well-pleasing in His sight, and that He will forgive us and all His people their transgressions, both voluntary and involuntary, which we have wickedly committed in the year that is past: That he will bless the beginning and continuance this year with the grace of His love for mankind: and will grant unto us peaceful times and favorable seasons, and that we may live without sin, in health and plenty: That He will turn aside from us His wrath, which hath been justly kindled against us because of our sins: That He will banish from us all soul-destroying passions and corrupting usages: and that He will implant
in our hearts His divine fear, unto the fulfillment of His Commandments: That He will renew a right spirit within us, and confirm us in the Orthodox faith; and make us to be zealous in the performance of good deeds, and the fulfillment of all His commandments: That He will overthrow all heresies and schisms, and everywhere plant right belief and piety, and convert all who have departed from the True faith unto a knowledge of His Truth, and unite them
all unto His Holy Orthodox Church: That He will deliver His Holy Church, and us all, from every tribulation, wrath and necessity, and from all enemies, both visible and invisible; and that He will always hedge about His faithful people with health, long life and peace, and the host of His Holy Angels: Succour us, save us, have mercy upon us and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.
Chanter: Lord, have mercy. Calling to remembrance our Most Holy, All-undefiled, Most Blessed and Glorious Lady, the Birth-Giver of God and Ever-Virgin Mary, with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves, and each other, and all our life unto Christ Our God.
Chanter: To Thee, O Lord.
Priest: For unto thee are due all Glory, Honor and Worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now, and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
[The Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Timothy 2:1-6 and the Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 4: 16-22)
The following Prayer is offered by the celebrant Priest:
O Master, Lord our God, the Source of life and of immortality, the Author of all created things both visible and invisible, Who has placed all seasons and years in Thy power, and does direct all things with Thy Most-Wise and All-Gracious Providence: We thank Thee for Thy bounties, which Thou has poured out upon us during our life that is past, and we entreat Thee, O All-Bountiful Lord! Bless the crown of the coming year with Thy goodness: preserve Thy beloved servants, our Rulers and all the Authorities; Multiply the days of their life in health unalterable, and grant them progress in all virtues. Bestow Thy good things from above upon all Thy people, as also health and salvation, and good furtherance in all things. Deliver Thy Holy Church, this city, and all cities and lands from every evil assault, and vouchsafe unto them peace and tranquility; and grant that we may always offer thanksgiving unto Thee, the Father Who is from everlasting, together with Thine Only-begotten Son, and Thine All-Holy, and Good, and Life-Creating Spirit, God glorified in one Essence, and to hymn Thine All-Holy Name.
[Please note: This is not the entire service]
NEW YEAR'S DAY THE CIRCUMCISION OF THE LORD SAINT BASIL THE GREAT
by Saint Theophan the Recluse
Col. 2:18-12; St. Luke 2:20-21, 40-52
Since New Year's Day is the beginning of the days of the year, we ought to gather in our soul those thoughts, feelings, and dispositions that would direct our affairs throughout the year in a Christian way. We will find these the moment we bring to mind the meaning of New Year's Day in the spiritual life. In the spiritual life, New Year's Day is when one who has been living carelessly becomes zealous about salvation and pleasing to God. When one makes this resolution, then all is rebuilt afresh both internally and externally, upon new beginnings--the old passes away and all is new. If you have this, renew it; if not, acquire it--and for you this will be New Year's Day.
A worthy celebration of the Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord and of the commemoration of Saint Basil the Great is also connected with this. The essence of the change we have mentioned is that a person begins from this moment to live solely for his salvation, for God; whereas previously he lived exclusively for himself, preparing destruction for himself. Now he abandons former habits, all comforts, and all in which he found pleasure. He cuts off passions and lustful dispositions and takes on works of strict self-denial. Such a change precisely represents that which, according to the Apostle, the circumcision of the Lord reminds us of this and obligates us to do it, while Saint Basil the Great provides us with an example to follow. So all the themes which crow our consciousness on New Year's Day come together into one--our inner renewal through the circumcision of the heart. If it pleases the Lord to give someone this mind-set on New Year's Day--that is, not only to think in such a way, but also to bring all of this into his life--he will celebrate New Year's Day in a most perfect Christian manner, and will prepare for a Christian passage of the whole year. On the subsequent New Year's Day he will only have to renew and enliven what he has now takes on.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God