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Archive for the ‘February’ Category

The Meeting of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Temple

Troparion – Tone 1

Rejoice, O Virgin Theotokos, full of grace!

From you shone the Sun of Righteousness, Christ our God.

Enlightening those who sat in darkness!

Rejoice, and be glad, O righteous elder;

You accepted in your arms the Redeemer of our souls,

Who grants us the Resurrection.

Kontakion – Tone 1

By Your nativity, You did sanctify the Virgin’s womb,

And did bless Simeon’s hands, O Christ God.

Now You have come and saved us through love.

Grant peace to all Orthodox Christians, O only Lover of man!


For a wonderful online video telling the story of the presentation:

Click here.

Wendy M. (thank you Wendy!) made the following suggestions for celebrating this feast:

  • Make honeycomb beeswax candles and have them blessed at your parish on the feast day. The candles are very easy to make. You only need a sheet of honeycomb wax sheet, wick, and possibly a hair dryer (depending whether you live in a warm or cold climate.) Cold wax sheets are very fragile, so it is best to warm it with the hair dryer before rolling the wax around the wick. The following website gives much better instructions: candle-making-guide.com (offering instructions for pillar style candles) and wicksandwax.com (offering instructions for tapered candles). Some craft stores sell them, but they can also be purchased online. A discussion could follow, describing Christ as the “light to bring revelation to the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32).
  • If you have a small paper icon of the feast, which can be a color printout of an icon found online, and Stockmar Candle Decorating Wax, you can decorate the honeycomb or conventional wax candles in preparation for this feast, or for a baptism or Pascha. Stockmar Candle Decorating Wax as well as well as honeycomb wax for the candle itself, can be found here or here . Candles could also be made in the traditional way by dipping. And paint could be used instead or in addition to, decorating wax.
  • Share pictures of your children’s churching and discuss how it relates to the Presentation of our Lord.
  • For old children, you may want to examine the service prayers said during a forty-day churching.
  • Another activity practiced by some is singing the Prayer of St. Simeon daily until the leavetaking of the feast

Images of candles made by Wendy and her daughter:

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The following are links to music downloads for the feast (provided by Molly):

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Fifth Century

Troparion – Tone 1

O holy Brigid, you became sublime through your humility,
and flew on the wings of your longing for God.
When you arrived in the eternal City and appeared before your Divine Spouse, wearing the crown of virginity, you kept your promise
to remember those who have recourse to you.
You shower grace upon the world, and multiply miracles.
Intercede with Christ our God that He may save our souls.

Kontakion – Tone 4

The holy virgin Brigid full of divine wisdom,
went with joy along the way of evangelical childhood,
and with the grace of God attained in this way the summit of virtue.
She now bestows blessings upon those who come to her with faith.
O holy Virgin, intercede with Christ our God
that He may have mercy on our souls.
From oca.org:

Saint Brigid, “the Mary of the Gael,” was born around 450 in Faughart, about two miles from Dundalk in County Louth. According to Tradition, her father was a pagan named Dubthach, and her mother was Brocessa (Broiseach), one of his slaves.

Even as a child, she was known for her compassion for the poor. She would give away food, clothing, and even her father’s possessions to the poor. One day he took Brigid to the king’s court, leaving her outside to wait for him. He asked the king to buy his daughter from him, since her excessive generosity made her too expensive for him to keep. The king asked to see the girl, so Dubthach led him outside. They were just in time to see her give away her father’s sword to a beggar. This sword had been presented to Dubthach by the king, who said, “I cannot buy a girl who holds us so cheap.”

St Brigid received monastic tonsure at the hands of St Mael of Ardagh (February 6). Soon after this, she established a monastery on land given to her by the King of Leinster. The land was called Cill Dara (Kildare), or “the church of the oak.” This was the beginning of women’s cenobitic monasticism in Ireland.

The miracles performed by St Brigid are too numerous to relate here, but perhaps one story will suffice. One evening the holy abbess was sitting with the blind nun Dara. From sunset to sunrise they spoke of the joys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and of the love of Christ, losing all track of time. St Brigid was struck by the beauty of the earth and sky in the morning light. Realizing that Sister Dara was unable to appreciate this beauty, she became very sad. Then she prayed and made the Sign of the Cross over Dara’s eyes. All at once, the blind nun’s eyes were opened and she saw the sun in the east, and the trees and flowers sparkling with dew. She looked for a while, then turned to St Brigid and said, “Close my eyes again, dear Mother, for when the world is visible to the eyes, then God is seen less clearly by the soul.” St Brigid prayed again, and Dara became blind once more.

St Brigid fell asleep in the Lord in the year 523 after receiving Holy Communion from St Ninnidh of Inismacsaint (January 18). She was buried at Kildare, but her relics were transferred to Downpatrick during the Viking invasions. It is believed that she was buried in the same grave with St Patrick (March 17) and St Columba of Iona (June 9).Late in the thirteenth century, her head was brought to Portugal by three Irish knights on their way to fight in the Holy Land. They left this holy relic in the parish church of Lumiar, about three miles from Lisbon. Portions of the relic were brought back to Ireland in 1929 and placed in a new church of St Brigid in Dublin. The relics of St Brigid in Ireland were destroyed in the sixteenth century by Lord Grey during the reign of Henry VIII.

The tradition of making St Brigid’s crosses from rushes and hanging them in the home is still followed in Ireland, where devotion to her is still strong. She is also venerated in northern Italy, France, and Wales.





Born the daughter of an Irish chieftan circa 453 AD Saint Bridgid became a nun whose desire was to relieve the misery and hardship of the poor. Her feast day, the date of her death is February 1st. The popular tradition of the woven St Bridgid cross is believed to have begun during a visit by Bridgid to a dying pagan chieftan. To illustrate the significance of the Christian faith she quickly wove a simple cross from the rushes strewn on the floor covering of the time. From this time on the woven rush cross has become synonymous with the Saint. Commonly hung over the doorway in many Irish homes it is believed to bless and bring luck to every person who crosses the threshold.

Directions for making a St. Bridgid Cross:

Contributed by Aleksandra:

We made the St. Bridgit Crosses last year out of the paper twists and they turned out nice. The great St. Columba who was apostle to the Scots of Scotland, when he was sailing to his monastery on the Isle of Iona, was caught in a great storm. He called upon Christ and His saint Brigit to calm the storm and his prayers were answered. After that, he wrote an ode to the saint, from which the following troparion is composed: “Pure virgin and flame of the Lord, O Brigit, guide to the Eternal Kingdom, deliver us, by the prayers, from the throngs of demons and the storms of life, and pray to Christ God that our souls be saved.” Above taken from her story in “Lives of Saints for Young People, Vol.5“, Synaxix Press. There is also a drawing of her in the book which the children copied and colored. It was a nice alternative to “Valentine’s Day” and we know a lot of Brigits!

Contributed by St. Michael’s Orthodox School:

Celebrating the Feast of St. Brigid

We celebrate the St. Brigid’s Day, each year on February 1, by making Irish Soda Bread and butter. Sometimes we also make other crafts, but we always make the bread and butter, tell the story of her life and sing the troparion in her honor. We often have tea with our bread and butter. We also make extra to give away, to emphasize caring for others and hospitality, as the saint did.

Here is a Life of St. Brigid, and here is a recipe for the Irish Soda Bread. We hope you enjoy reading her life and making Irish Soda Bread and butter. It is a delightful custom.There are several sites with more information about this saint, and a lovely icon at ComeAndSeeIcons.com.

Recommended resources:

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St. Valentine’s Day

Mosaic image from this site

Orthodox icon image can be found at ComeAndSeeIcons.com

St. Valentine’s Day is not an Orthodox holiday, since his feastday for us is celebrated on July 6th. But in order to ‘redeem the time’ and ‘sanctify the day’ it might be useful to post some ideas for family activities that can be glorifying to God.

Life of St. Valentine from oca.org: Commemorated on July 6

The Holy Martyrs Valentinus the Presbyter, Martha, Marinus, Audifax, Habakkuk, Cyrenus, Asterius and many others with them at Rome.

During the reign of the emperor Claudius II (268-270), St Marinus together with his wife Martha and their sons Audifax and Habakkuk journeyed from Persia to Rome, to pray at the graves of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul. During this time fierce persecutions and executions befell the Roman Church. St Marinus and his wife and sons helped Christians locked up in the prisons, and also to request the bodies of executed martyrs. At one of these jails they met a prisoner named Cyrenus and they helped him, since he had endured many torments for faith in Christ.

The persecution spread, and even more Christians were arrested. During this time 260 Christians, among whom was the tribune Vlastus, had been sent under the court sentence to dig ground along the Salerian Way, and were executed by archers. When they learned about this vicious murder, Marinus, his family, and the presbyter John went by night and took the bodies of the martyrs to be buried in the catacombs. They returned later to the prison where St Cyrenus was incarcerated, but did not find him. He had been executed the day before and his body was thrown into the Tiber River. Doing their holy duty, Sts Marinus and Martha and their sons took the body of the holy martyr from the river and committed it to the earth. The holy workers were among Christians, who continued secretly to perform the divine services under the leadership of the holy Bishop Callistus, and hid them from their pursuers.

In consummation of their great charitable deeds the holy family was deemed worthy to glorify the Lord by martyrdom. The pagans beheaded the courageous confessor Valentinus the Presbyter, and the imperial gardener Asterius who had been converted by him, and the holy ascetics from Persia were arrested and given over to torture. By order of the emperor, Sts Marinus, Audifax and Habakkuk were beheaded in the year 269, and St Martha was drowned in a river.

The relics of the holy saints are in Rome at the Church of St John the Hut-Dweller, and the relics of St Valentinus are in the Church of the holy Martyr Paraskeva.

  • Read the Life of St. Valentine (from a Roman Catholic source).
  • Use the day as an opportunity to learn about Orthodox teaching regarding courtship and marriage.

Resources:

Orthodox curriculum and books on marriage:

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