Eastern Orthodox Church Holy Days
Question:
Can you send me info on Eastern Orthodox holidays?
Answer:
Yes, I can. There are a lot of holy days that Eastern Orthodoxy follows, reflecting the Jewish system of holy days prophecying the advent of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament God had established this cycle of holy days to be repeated every year, which was a concept that the Apostles and their disciples had passed on to the Early Church for the sake of preserving Christ's presence on earth and for a rhythm of prayer. Here is a list of holidays (also called feasts) for the Eastern Orthodox church, which is based on the same holy days used in the Early Church. The holy days connected with Easter are dependent on when Easter takes place, but the rest of these feasts are fixed days. Orthodox Easter is also calculated differently from the Catholic-Protestant method, which are all determined by the lunar cycle. So the Orthodox Easter is usually 1-2 or more weeks away from the Catholic-Protestant Easter, though on occasion they all occur on the same day. Also, some Orthodox churches use the Julian (or Old) Calendar, which was replaced in the American colonies a few decades before the American Revolution in 1775, by the Gregorian (or New) Calendar. So some Orthodox calendars may differ by 13 days from what is listed below. The list below follows the modern American calendar. -Gaius

THE FEAST OF FEASTS
Pascha (also called Easter)

THE 12 GREAT FEASTS
1. The Entrance of Our Lord Jesus Christ into Jerusalem- Palm Sunday
2. The Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ- 40 Days after Pascha
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit- Pentecost Sunday
Dependent on Pascha
a. Midfeast
b. Sunday of All Saints- 1st Sunday after Pentecost
Feasts
4. The Nativity of the Virgin Mary- Sept. 8
5. The Universal Exaltation (Elevation) of the Life-Creating Cross- Sept. 14
6. The Entrance (Presentation) of the Virgin Mary into the Temple- Nov. 21
7. The Nativity of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ (Christmas)- Dec. 25
8. The Theophany (Epiphany or Baptism) of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ- Jan. 6
9. The Meeting of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Temple- Feb. 2
10. The Annunciation to the Virgin Mary- Mar. 25
11. The Transfiguration of Our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ- Aug. 6
12. The Falling-Asleep (Dormition or Assumption) of the Virgin Mary- Aug. 15

LESSER FEASTS (subject to a few variations, depending on the needs of regional churches)
Jan. 1- The Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ; St. Basil the Great
Jan. 7- Synaxis of the Holy Glrious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John
Jan. 17- St. Anthony the Great, Father of Monasticism
Jan. 30- The Three Holy Hierarchs: Sts. Basil the Great, Gregory the Theologian and John Chrysostom
Feb. 27- The Repose of St. Raphael, Bishop of Brooklyn
Mar. 31- The Repose of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to the Americas
Apr. 7- The Repose of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of North America
Apr. 23- The Holy Great Martyr and Victory-Bearer George
May 7- The Repose of Righteous Alexis Toth
May 8- The Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian
May 11- The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Cyril and Methodius
May 21- The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostle Emperor Constantine and his Mother, St. Helen
June 24- The Nativity of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John
June 29- The Holy Apostles Peter and Paul
July 15- The Holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Great Prince Vladimir
July 20- The Holy, Glorious Prophet Elijah
July 26- The Repose of St. Jacob Netsvetov, Enlightener of the Peoples of Alaska
Aug. 1- The Procession of the Honorable Wood of the Life-Giving Cross of the Lord
Aug. 9- The Glorification of Our Venerable Father Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska and All America
Aug. 13- The Repose of St. Tikhon, Bishop of Voronezh, Wonderworker of Zadonsk and All Russia
Aug. 29- The Beheading of the Holy Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord, John
Sept. 1- The Church New Year (Indiction)
Sept. 24- The Holy New-Martyrs of Alaska: Priestmonk Juvenaly and Peter the Aleut
Oct. 1- The Protection of the Virgin Mary
Oct. 6- The Glorification of St. Innocent, Metropolitan of Moscow, Enlightener of the Aleuts and Apostle to the Americas
Oct. 9- The Glorification of St. Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and Enlightener of North America
Oct. 31- The Repose of Priest-Martyr John Kochurov
Nov. 8- Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and the Other Bodiless Powers
Dec. 4- Glorification of Priest-Martyr Alexander Hotovitzky
Dec. 6- St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, Archbishop of Myra in Lycia
Dec. 13- The Repose of Our Venerable Father Herman, Wonderworker of Alaska and All America

FEASTS OF WONDER-WORKING ICONS OF THE VIRGIN MARY
Feb. 12- Iveron
Bright Friday (the first Friday after Pascha)- Lifegiving Spring
May 21- Vladimir
June 26- Tikhvin
July 8- Kazan
July 23- Pochaev
July 28- Smolensk (Hodigitria)
Oct. 24- Joy of All Who Sorrow
Nov. 9- She Who Is Quick To Hear
Nov. 27- Of the Sign (Znamenny)

FASTING SEASONS
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast)- Nov. 15 through Dec. 24
Meatfast - Monday after the Sunday of Last Judgment through Cheesefare Sunday
Great Lent & Holy Week- 1st Monday of Great Lent through Great and Holy Saturday
Apostles' (Peter & Paul) Fast- June 11 through June 28
Dormition (Virgin Mary) Fast- Aug. 1 through Aug. 14

FAST-FREE WEEKS
Afterfeast of the Nativity of Christ to Theophany Eve- Dec. 25 through Jan. 4
The week following the Sunday of the Publican & Pharisee- 2nd Week of the Lenten Triodion
Bright Week- The week after Pascha until St. Thomas Sunday
Trinity Week- The week after Pentecost until the Saturday before All Saints' Sunday

FAST DAYS
All Wednesdays and Fridays of the Year, except for Fast-Free Weeks
The Eve of Theophany- January 5
The Beheading of St. John the Baptist- August 29
The Elevation of the Cross- September 14