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Τhe message you are reading is the first one for the New Year. Certainly, the date is not January 1st (nor April 1st, this is not a joke). However, the first day of the New Ecclesiastical (Church) Year is September 1st. As you know, the feast days of our holy Tradition have been arranged in a cyclical form: from the Birth of the Virgin Mary (September 8), the Presentation of the Virgin Mary into the Temple (November 21), Christmas (December 25), Theophany (January 6), the Presentation of the Lord into the Temple (February 2) until the feasts of Holy Week, Easter (the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of the Lord), the Ascension of the Lord, Pentecost, and the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (August 15). Thus, the Orthodox calendar of feasts moves in cycles, starting in September and concluding in August.

The celebrations of our Tradition signify the realization of the divine plan for the salvation of mankind (Incarnation, Resurrection, Ascension, Pentecost) as well as the journey of every human being toward Heaven (through the observance of these feasts, the glorification of God and the participation in the holy sacraments). God gives us the opportunity to nurture our souls with His Grace and the spiritual admonition of His revealed wisdom. His message is given through holy Tradition, in the Bible, in the literature of the Fathers and in the unwritten wisdom of the Church. The fruits of the Grace of God are love, faith, charity, repentance, peace and discernment.

The New Ecclesiastical Year has just begun. We need to use as many of spiritual blessings our Church provides as possible. The holy sacraments, the holy Scriptures and the other spiritual opportunities are the steps that take us closer to God, the steps we have to walk on. This way, we may look forward for a blessed year, for a year that brings salvation and redemption, for a

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

+Economos Nikiforos Fakinos