Metropolitan Mar Yulios of Ahmedabad Diocese releases Indian Orthodox liturgical calendar

By Liju Cherian
OCP News Service – 5/1/14

ABU DHABI: HG Pulikkottil Dr Geevarghese Mar Yulios, Metropolitan of Ahmedabad Diocese, has released the liturgical calendar 2014-15 with lectionary and all other worshiping details as a soft copy.

Receiving tremendous response from the faithful after it went online on Facebook and other Orthodox church sites, there are now plans to make available an app on smartphones of the same.

The online version of the calendar was launched at St George Orthodox Cathedral, an Indian Orthodox Church, in Abu Dhabi on the Feast of Nativity of our Lord.

The Orthodox liturgical year starts from November 2, 2014 (Koodeosh’Etho) and ends on November 1, 2015. The liturgical divided into seven liturgical Seasons. All the lectionaries are included in it.
The liturgical Calendar of the Indian Malankara Orthodox Church begins on ‘Koodhosh-Etho’ (Sanctification of the Church) Sunday, which falls on 8th Sunday before Christmas, the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord. So this will be the Sunday after 29th of October every year; for instance November 2, in 2014.

The calendar is a result of continuous development. Begun in Christian antiquity, it is always “in progress.” Each age adds to it its own significant ecclesiastical events and its own martyrs and witnesses of the faith, who in the purity of their hearts have seen the invisible God as in a mirror, and through whom divine grace has richly flowed to us.

In Indian Orthodox Church it is considered to be the third organised liturgical calendar, the first one was created by Philipose Kori Edavazikkal in 1880s, then in 1907 Geevarghese Ramban (Later Baselious Geevarghese II, Catholicose of the East).

Calendar details: Like the seven liturgical hours per day such as 6 pm: Evening, 9 pm: Compline (daily retirement for sleep), 12 am: Midnight, 6 am: Morning, 9 am: 3rd Hour/Before daily work begins, 12 pm: Noon and 3 pm: 9th Hour/end of daily work.

However, for convenience of community worship, the 9th hour of the previous day along with evening and compline complied together as evening prayer and likewise the night, morning, 3rd hour and noon are compiled in the morning prayer;  and seven days per week (Sunday to Saturday).

The liturgical year is also divided into seven seasons or periods. Each period of an year, each day of a week and each hour of a day has some commonality in their theme!

The seven seasons/periods mainly are:

  • Season of Annunciation: It starts from Koodhosh-Etho to Eldho (the Feast of Nativity of our Lord)/Sunday/Evening: refers the time from the start of Creation till to the birth of our Lord; covers the entire Old Testament.
  • Season of Epiphany: Eldho to the beginning of the Great-lent/ Monday/ Compline (before bed): refers the time from the birth of our Lord till to His Public Ministry; covers 30 years in the life of our Lord.
  • Season of Great Lent: Great-lent/Tuesday/Night: the time of His Public Ministry; refers around the three and a half years that He ministered many those who believed in Him.
  • Season of Resurrection: Feast of Resurrection to the Feast of Pentecost/ Wednesday/Morning: refers the time that our Loud being with us as Resurrected Being and Presence; covers the forty days till His ascension and the ten days that the Apostles and believers awaited for the Holy Spirit.
  • Season of Pentecost: Pentecost to the Feast of Transfiguration (August 6)/ Thursday/7 am: refers the time of the growth of the Church through the propagation of the Gospel by the Apostles, Prophets, Martyrs and holy Fathers, Doctors and departed of the Church.
  • Season of Transfiguration: From August 6 to the Feast of exaltation of the Holy Cross (September 14)/Friday/Noon: refers the assurance in Him and believe those who suffered for the Kingdom of God will be glorified.
  • Season of Holy Cross: From September 14th to the next Koodhosh-Etho/ Saturday/3 pm: refers the Futuristic.

It is arranged in such a way by the Fathers to lead us in a meaningful Christ centered spiritual life and for personal meditation that in every year we begin from the beginning of creation of the World to the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, then we grow with Him, becoming disciples, follow Him in His Public Ministry like His suffering, death, resurrection, ascending into heaven, descending of the Holy Spirit, growth of the Church and finally looking forward the last judgment and second-coming.

The same pattern and sequence can be seen both in meditation theme of each day in a week and also in each canonical hour of a day. While Sunday, being the first day according to the creation account of the Holy Scripture, represents the binging of Creation, when we reach Saturday being the seventh day, represents Sabbath, a day of rest and hence the Church remembers all the departed souls on Saturday!

Likewise, while the evening time represents the start of Creation, the 9th hour, the last canonical hour of each day, represents the Resurrection of the dead in Christ. This spiritual rhythm and harmony is seen in every aspect of the liturgical life of the Church.

OCP News Service